Experts in the maritime sector have called for safer waterways to harness the enormous wealth from the sea and ocean.
The experts, who gathered at the 2019 African Day of the Seas and Oceans, in Lagos, added that biodiversity of the ecosystem has been facing serious challenges due to human activities ranging from construction, unhealthy agricultural practices, irrigation, oil exploration, exploitation and transportation, dumping of toxic waste, to unregulated fishing.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, said that the promotion of peace and security would foster increased wealth creation from Africa’s oceans and seas.
Oyo-Ita, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Common Service Office, Office of the Head of Civil Service, Dr. Bakare Wadinga, called for increased awareness to deepen restoration of the marine economy while focusing on sustainable development.
Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, urged Nigeria to sustain its increasing population through wealth creation from the various blessings of the diverse organisms and ecosystems that abound in the ocean and seas.
“For Nigeria as a nation to achieve sustainable economic growth, we must develop an interest in the conservation, exploration, and exploitation of our marine biodiversity.
“Nigeria can achieve accelerated economic growth and development through the regulation, exploitation, and protection of her marine biodiversity through a comprehensive and articulated approach, which will not necessarily impact negatively on the environment,” Peterside added.
Noting that the global community is looking towards the seas and ocean for economic prosperity, he argued that sustaining these diverse species is germane to Nigeria’s growth due to the inherent and diverse opportunities that can be used for rapid economic transformation and development.
He cited a report by Economist Intelligence Unit Report, which stated that; China’s ocean economy contributed $962billion or 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014, employing nine million people, while the United States similarly valued its ocean economy at $258billion in 2010 or 1.8 percent of GDP.