Maritime stakeholders have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing a technocrat, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, as Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Voicing the endorsement at a recent reception in Lagos to honour the new Director-General, the industry stakeholders said with Jamoh leading the charge, the maritime sector was headed for radical improvement and a brighter future.
Jamoh as DG is leading a new NIMASA Executive Management made up very tested hands including; Hon. Victor Ochei, Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Hon. Chudi Offodile, Executive Director Finance and Administration and Alhaji Shehu Ahmed, Executive Director Operations, all whom the stakeholders hosted to a reception affirming their desire to partner with them to grow the nation’s maritime sector.
The Chairman of Nigerian Ship Owners Forum, Barr. Margaret Orakwusi, in her comments at the event, commended Buhari for giving hope to the career staff of NIMASA with the appointment of Jamoh. Orakwusi stressed the need for the new management of the Agency to focus on the core functions of NIMASA. She urged the management to ensure adequate empowerment of the workforce and stakeholders.
“We thank President Buhari for this gesture. It is hope to the younger ones that staff can become Director-General,” she stated.
Orakwusi also urged more attention to issues of maritime safety and security. She sued for the revival of the Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX), saying it is a unique avenue to show the world Nigeria’s rich maritime potential.
Orakwusi rekindled hope for the long-desired return of Nigeria to Category C of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council, saying it can be achieved with proper direction at the helm of the country’s maritime regulatory Agency.
Speaking also, a renowned maritime industry operator, Otunba Kunle Folarin, noted that the expectations of the government and stakeholders in the maritime industry were high. Folarin said with the new management team at NIMASA, the industry was blessed with individuals who could deliver the goods.
He stated regarding Jamoh, “Manpower development is key. Don’t stop. We have the population. Expectations of Nigerians are high.
“We want people like the DG in the industry who can use their intellect to power the industry. Manpower development from the land and the sea is necessary in the world of maritime, because India and Philippines have done it. It must be realised in our time because we are determined to make you succeed.”
Pioneer Chairman of the Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), now Nigeria Ship Owners Association (NISA), Chief Isaac Jolapamo, noted that shipping could not be developed on the platform of politics, stressing, however, that politics cannot be removed from shipping. Jolapamo urged the new NIMASA management to look inwards in the fight against sea piracy.
“I know you will not go on rocks because you know where to put the ship. I am sure you will be successful by the time you conclude your term,” he said.
Another prominent stakeholder, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho, pledged his support for the new management, but also requested concrete steps on the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
“We are happy and ready to work with you. But, please, consider the CVFF. Let us stop going in circles,” Iheanacho stated.
Former NISA president, Aminu Umar, said, “Piracy is key. The new management should make it to the front burner. I have confidence that the team is capable. NIMASA should focus on promoting, protecting, and providing for ship-owners. It should engage stakeholders more. Just listen more to us.”
Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, emphasised the need to prioritise the training of dockworkers. Haastrup sought greater attention to security on land, especially, within the maritime environment, and appealed for more effective measures to solve the Apapa access challenges.
In his remarks, Jamoh appreciated Buhari and the Ministers in the Federal Ministry of Transportation for his appointment. He assured that though the task ahead was big, with the assistance of stakeholders in the industry, he would not disappoint popular expectations in the sector.
He told the gathering, “We will consult with stakeholders so that we will not be in dilemma. I am here to listen to you and take note of what you expect us to do. We need your assistance, support and guidance to achieve what we set out to achieve according to the mandate of the Agency. Let us work together so that the maritime sector can be prosperous in Nigeria.”
Those present at the event included former Directors-General of NIMASA, Ade Dosunmu and Temisan Omatseye amongst others.