Dr. Peterside, new chairman, AAMA

The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Dakuku Peterside has been elected as the new Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrators (AAMA).

This is one of the decisions reached at the just concluded third conference of the association with the theme ‘Sustainable Use of Africa’s Oceans and Seas attended by 34 African countries held from April 19 to 21, 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Mr. Basir Jamoh, who addressed a media conference shortly after the event, said that the NIMASA – DG would pilot affairs of AAMA for a period of one year tenure, as Egypt would host the next conference while South Africa retains the secretariat..

Meanwhile Namibia and Seychelles are jostling for the 2019 hosting right, as the chosen host could not be confirmed at the time of filing this report.

AAMA, a body of 34 African countries including Nigeria, unanimously elected Peterside at the conference jointly organised by NIMASA and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) which drew attendance from maritime countries within the African continent and across the globe..

Peterside, takes over from Mr. Sobantu Tilayi, the acting Chief Executive Officer of South African Maritime and Safety Agency (SAMSA), who has been the acting chair of the association since 2013.

His election comes barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the new NIMASA brand with a renewed interest by the government to grow the country’s economy through her maritime resources.

At a well attended closing session, Tilayi, the outgoing chairman described Peterside as a committed and dedicated technocrat that will, no doubt, take maritime administration to a higher level.

Many other participants expressed optimism in Peterside’s leadership ability to improve on the fortunes of the continent through concerted maritime collaboration that will attract interest of African states through their various Maritime Administrations (MARADs).

Within the last one year, Peterside has been able to improve on inter agency and inter government cooperation in the fight against piracy resulting to a reduction in incidences of piracy and sea robberies.

NIMASA under his watch has broadened the scope of maritime administration and regulation in Nigeria through the decentralisation of the operations of the agency, which led to the creation of regional headquarters to be located in strategic maritime locations in country including Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar.

As a way of ameliorating the dearth of seafarers and empowering more Nigerians in core maritime professions, NIMASA recently approved the sponsorship of sea time training for the first batch of 400 cadets under a wholly sponsored National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), among several other initiatives.

Stakeholders argue that the decision of the 34 –member nations of the association to unanimously elect the NIMASA may not be unconnected with the successful hosting of the conference, which they say remains second to none in addition to the giant strides he has made in the agency in just one year of his appointment.