Peterside canvasses preservation of Nigeria’s marine ecosystem
Director, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, Dr. Parcy Obatola, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA Dr. Dakuku Peterside, Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Jens-Petter Kjemprud and the representative of the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Emmanuel Audu at the Regional Conference on Marine Safety and Fisheries Protection, held in Lagos recently.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has made a strong case for the preservation of Nigeria’s maritime ecosystem.
The Director General who spoke at a 2-day Regional Conference on Marine Safety and Fisheries Protection organised by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research UNITAR in collaboration with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said there was need for concerted and collaborative efforts of all stakeholders towards the conservation and sustainable use of ocean resources for the protection of the environment and indeed the entire ecosystem.
The conference was organised out of the need to promote mechanical response to oil spill and protect fisheries and other aquatic species in the marine environment for the benefit of the West and Central African sub-region.
According to him, activities of oil exploration and resultant oil spills whether onshore or offshore can continuously hamper the ecosystem, a development that has given rise to urgent need to take steps to mitigate this.
He noted that Nigeria is blessed with abundant aquatic resources including rare species of fishes but lamented that while the sea is being exploited for various economic purposes, not much attention is paid to the sustainability of the environment.
“While tapping into the resources of our marine environment for economic advancement, care must be taken to ensure the perseveration of the environment or else wealth becomes useless if our environment is damaged”, he said.
Peterside however frowned at the indiscriminate use of dispersants to clean up oils spill adding that NIMASA as the government’s regulatory agency in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation IMO, has a list of approved dispersants.
The DG also said: “Before the usage of dispersants, we must consider the chemical composition and the attendant effects of its breakdown to the marine environment and of course the ecosystem”.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Jens-Petter Kjemprud, who spoke at the event, corroborated the position of the DG NIMASA on the need to conserve the ecosystem and the marine environment.
The ambassador said that Nigeria is blessed with enormous marine resources and the country must therefore continue to find ways through which activities regarding oil exploration would not hamper its biodiversity.
He also charged participants to use the opportunity provided by the conference to deliberate on how to strengthen regional cooperation when major accidents occur.
Country Head and Resident Representative of the UNITAR Nigeria Office, Dr. Lawrence Boms, who also spoke at the two-day event, said that the regional conference remains another milestone in the history of beneficial collaboration between the Norwegian Government and Nigeria. He added that there are immense benefits for the entire west, central and southern African regions if the abundant oceans resources are sustainably tapped.
Other speakers at the event were the Lagos state commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Oluwatoyin Suarau represented by Mr. Emmanuel Audu, Executive Director of the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research Dr. Gbola Akande amongst other notable maritime stakeholders.