The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said that Nigerian women are strategic to the country’s quest to develop and fully harness her blue economy as part of efforts to diversify the national economy from the current over-dependence on oil and gas.

Peterside stated this in a message to Nigerian women, who joined other women across the globe to mark the International Women’s Day, Friday, insisting that women in Nigeria have a lot to contribute in to the development of the country’s blue economy.

He said: “Women are wonderful builders and good asset keepers, and Nigerian women are even much more. I salute and respect you, great daughters of Nigeria, on this occasion of International Women’s Day for your monumental contributions and achievements in the maritime industry, in particular, and Nigeria, in general.

“As we strive to build a virile blue economy capable of diversifying our national economy and creating prosperity for the Nigerian people, I call for more active involvement of women. I seek your participation as equal partners in the collective task of taking Nigeria to the next level so that together we all can proudly accomplish this historic duty of creating a continental paradigm for the sustainable use of the world’s ocean resources for the overall good of mankind.

“In line with the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, which is ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change,’ I call on the womenfolk in Nigeria to roll up your sleeves and get ready to sail with the menfolk. And safely we shall land Nigeria in an El Dorado of jobs, security, and prosperity.” 

The Director General, who praised women in the country for their contributions and achievements in the typically male-dominated maritime industry, however called for the involvement of more women to help grow this segment of the nation’s economy. He also said that women in Nigeria had made enormous contributions to the socio-economic wellbeing of the country that could not be wished away.

He therefore sought more active involvement of women in the efforts to build a strong blue economy in the country.

Recall that Peterside has since his appointment about three years ago been a relentless advocate of greater women participation in the maritime industry in Nigeria and Africa. This advocacy has contributed to the intense global push for professionalism and social equality. It was also in line with this focus that the International Maritime Organisation IMO this year, adopted a new motto, which is, “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community.”

International Women’s Day, recognised by the United, is celebrated on March 8 every year. Last year the official UN theme for the day was “Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Changing Women’s Lives.”