Omatseye Cautions Security Agencies Against Setting Vessels With Stolen Crude Ablaze

By Babajide Okeowo

Omatseye Cautions Security Agencies Against Setting Vessels With Stolen Crude Ablaze
Barrister Temisan Omatseye, former Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) (Middle) cutting the tape to commission the new Head Office of the African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative AFMESI flanked by Dr Felicia Mogo, Engineer Matthew Alalade, and Mrs Eunice Ezeoke to the left and Sir Uchenna Mogo, Dame Jean Chiazor Anishere and Adesuwa Ladoja to the right in Lagos recently. 

· AFMESI Commissions New Secretariat, Unveils 5-Year Strategic Action Plan

Following the setting ablaze of vessels laden with crude oil in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, Barrister Temisan Omatseye, a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has cautioned security agencies to desist from this practice raising alarm that this causes environmental, and marine pollution which deprives dwellers in the riverine areas their sources of livelihood, this is as African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative AFMESI, Tuesday commissioned its new Head Office in the highbrow Lekki Area of Lagos State.

Speaking at the commissioning of the AFMESI’s new secretariat, an environment-oriented Non-Governmental Organisation founded by Dr. Felicia Mogo, a United Nations-appointed Group of Experts Member, Omatseye who is also the Patron of the NGO raised an alarm that the practice of throwing dynamites into vessels suspected to be involved in the freighting of stolen crude oil is environmentally unfriendly and destroys the marine ecosystem.

“They do not realise what they are doing to the environment, it is destroying the marine ecosystem and they need to stop this act. 

It is depriving the communities that live around the riverine areas of their sources of livelihood as the waters have become so polluted and the fishes have to go to father in the ocean where there is cleaner water to breathe” he lamented.

He also reserved commendation for Dr. Mogo for what she is doing for the marine environment while recognizing her roles and passion for the sustenance of the marine environment over the years.

“I want to commend Dr. Mogo for what she is doing for the marine environment, she has shown great passion towards saving the ocean because what we are battling now is the destruction of the ocean,” he said.

While taking guests on the mission of AFMESI, Dr. Mogo disclosed that the NGO was born out of her passion for the marine ecosystem and the environment at large.

‘The absolute lack of or inadequate sensitivity, political will, human capacity, and infrastructure amongst other needs that will enable equitable use and protection of the marine environment in some countries in the African continent was a factor that led to the formation of AFMESI.

This disconnect manifests most especially in the lack of updated national laws and regulations, accession to and/or implementation and enforcement of the provisions of international instruments of intervention aimed at protecting the marine environment especially that of the apex United Nations body charged with the mandate of securing safe and navigable ocean the International Maritime Organization (IMO). ‘

Hence, AFMESI seeks to proffer ways of correcting this anomaly by providing a platform for information exchange among experts on the subject globally and harnessing and directing such knowledge to protecting, restoring, and improving the quality of the oceans in the continent’ she said.

She also unveiled AFMESI’s Five-year Strategic Plan, AFMESI that will strive to ensure that coastal and marine sustainability takes a front burner at national and regional levels in Africa by organizing roundtable discussions on the implementation of local blue economy growth, compensation in cases of pollution incidents like oil spill symposium on building ocean resilience in a fast-changing climate and continuous capacity enhancement on the blue economy.

Earlier in their goodwill messages, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Jean Chiazor Anishere; Engineer Matthew Alalade, immediate Past President of Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association; Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke, President Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA Nigeria); and Adesuwa Ladoja, Executive Director, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited commended Dr Mogo for her vision and efforts towards saving the marine environment from pollution.

“AFMESI is a laudable initiative by Dr Mogo and I am not surprised by this grandiose initiative because she has always been associated with excellence, thank you for what you are doing for our oceans,” Chiazor-Anishere said.

On her part, Ladoja said “On behalf of myself and Lekki Ports, we commend AFMESI, what you are doing is extraordinary, to pick up a cause like this is not an easy thing. This is something that can only come from a focused and determined mind. This initiative is one that will benefit not only Nigerians but the whole world. For an individual to take up the challenge of giving us a cleaner ocean, it should be commended. On our part, as Lekki Ports, we will continue to support you” she assured.

Also speaking, Mrs. Ezeoke said, “I am not surprised at where Dr. Mogo has found herself today, she has always been a driven person, she is very determined and focused on actualizing her dreams. WISTA Nigeria is ready to partner with AFMESI to actualize the dreams and aspirations of the founder” she promised.

In his goodwill message, Engineer Alalade thanked Dr. Mogo for her activities globally and for making Nigeria proud.

“I thank Dr. Mogo for her activities in ensuring the cleanliness of the ocean. In any areas that you need support, personally, I will be there for you” he promised.

Delivering the vote of thanks, Sir Uchenna Mogo, the husband of Dr Mogo expressed gratitude for the August gathering.

“I thank all these wonderful men and women who have gathered here today, I thank you very much for taking out time out of your busy schedules to be here, I really appreciate that and I thank you very much,

“It has been a fruitful deliberation and all I can take away from here is that AFMESI is in very good hands and we can be sure of a fruitful collaboration,” he said.

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