Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, says Nigeria should join other countries and intensify efforts in studying the Atlantic Ocean for economic and climatic benefits.
Onu gave the advice during the 5th High-level Industry-Science-Government dialogue on Atlantic Interaction on Monday in Lagos.
The event had its theme: “Promoting wealthy Atlantic Regions through South/North-North/South research and innovation networks driven by the Atlantic International Research Centre (AIR Centre)’’.
The programme was organised by the Atlantic International Research Centre (AIR Centre) and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The Atlantic Interaction was an intergovernmental initiative to unleash the potential of the Atlantic Ocean for society.
Onu noted that the Atlantic Ocean held huge benefits that would facilitate the creation of wealth, jobs and accelerate the reduction of poverty among people of various nations.
The minister maintained that the study of the Atlantic Ocean would also foster friendship among countries, help solve the challenges of the environment, including global warming and climate change.
“This will help give hope to those whose livelihood depends on the Atlantic Ocean, thereby promoting peaceful coexistence among nations,” he said.
Onu said that the efforts to studying the Atlantic Ocean would encourage scientists to start studying other oceans, thus providing great opportunities for meeting human needs.
Also, Mansur Ahmed, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said that the outcome of the dialogue would contribute to reducing the adverse effects of dumping of wastes in the sea and on the environment.
“This will ensure that we have a safe ocean for businesses and humans in coastal cities.
“In our world today, effective management of the Atlantic Ocean and its resource endowments is central to beneficial trade, transportation, maritime activities, employment creation, poverty reduction, food security, industrial development, commercial transactions and safety of the environment.
“This is the reason the synergy being promoted by the focus of our dialogue today is not only commendable but germane if we must explore the Atlantic Ocean sustainably for the utmost benefit of humanity and safeguard our environment,’’ he said.
Ahmed noted that the effect of poor management of the ocean and coastal lines were numerous and usually devastating, leading to flooding in coastal cities.
The MAN president stressed the importance of paying deliberate attention to environmental challenges emanating from the impact of increasing incidences of indiscriminate dumping of plastic wastes, inflow of impurities and man-made erosion.
Other issues to be monitored included; environmental pollution resulting from oil prospecting activities in the country and other sources of water pollution on the coastal lines.
He said that deliberate effort should be made to developing strategies and offer recommendations for solutions, as well as to educate stakeholders on the need to treat the ocean with available best practices.
“MAN is aware of the importance of protecting and sustaining the environment, particularly the ocean waters.
“As a matter of policy, MAN encourages its members to adopt best practices in the management of wastes.
“It has established structured partnership platforms with Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) and other regulatory bodies with similar mandate to ensuring seamless compliance to environmental standards,” he said.
Prof. Manuel Heitor, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Portuguese Republic, said the study of the Atlantic Ocean was pertinent to exploring the social economic impact and opportunities inherent in the ocean economy.
He said that the private sector played a vital role in assisting countries to maximise the opportunity.
Prof. Gloria Elemo , Director-General, Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), said that conservation of the environment and the ocean was crucial, saying that the ocean was worth about $24 trillion in values.
She noted that the Atlantic Ocean was vital to the sustainability of jobs, wealth and industry in all countries.