From left: Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh with the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, His Excellency, Senator Duoye Diri, during the visit of the Governor to the NIMASA headquarters in Lagos, Monday.

The Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Duoye Diri has said that Nigeria’s economic future depended on her ability to successfully develop and harness the enormous potential in her marine environment. This is with a view to achieving economic diversification from the current over dependence on the petroleum sector.

The Governor also said that the role of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA is crucial in achieving this feat, stressing that the most enduring wealth of the country is in maritime.

Speaking in Lagos, Monday, when he paid a courtesy visit to the Director General of the agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, he insists that the country has for too long over-depended on the oil and gas sector to the detriment of the maritime industry, which holds a better future for her both in terms of generating foreign exchange and creating jobs.

Diri appealed to the DG to increase NIMASA’s presence in Bayelsa State, especially in the area of domain awareness, to ensure security in the state’s maritime environment with a view to building confidence in investors to begin to tap the huge maritime resources in the state.

The governor, who was received by the NIMASA Director-General, and the Executive Management team, said: “A lot of countries are moving away from fossil fuel and maritime gives Nigeria an alternative. All the eight local governments in our state can be accessed by water. In fact, the headquarters of three of these local governments can only be reached by water. This shows how important our state is to maritime development.

“We are therefore, seeking partnership with NIMASA, which is the apex maritime regulatory agency of our country, to expand her regulatory activities to our state.

 “NIMASA and Bayelsa are inextricably one, and there is need for both to work together to strengthen the country’s maritime domain”.

He also appealed to the agency to help in the removal of wrecks that had impaired navigation in many parts of the coastal state.  

The governor solicited NIMASA’s support to the government in its attempt to develop the state’s maritime potential. He sought the Agency’s partnership in the areas of training and youth development, establishment of a maritime academy in the state, and development of the Agge Deep Seaport in Ekeremor Local Government Area.

Meanwhile, the Director-General, while speaking at the event, said Bayelsa State was one of the agency’s strongest allies in the pursuit of its mandate of sustainable regulation and promotion of the maritime sector. He said security was of utmost importance in the realisation of a prosperous maritime sector, adding that he would facilitate the incorporation of Bayelsa State in the ongoing effort to integrate the maritime domain awareness facilities of relevant stakeholders, including NIMASA’s C4i, Nigerian Navy’s Falcon Eye, Nigerian Ports Authority’s C3i, and the i247 of the Nigeria Police.

Jamoh also stated: “Bayelsa State holds the key to the growth of our economy because a huge part of our coastline falls within the state. Thankfully, the issue of wreck removal has been sorted out and we have concluded the marking and identification of all wrecks and derelicts across the country for removal.”

He also assured the governor of the agency’s support in terms of maritime growth and we will look into expanding its office in Bayelsa in order to increase its presence”.