So soon, Dr Bashir Jamoh and his Executive Directors (EDs) have done three years in the saddle at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
They were appointed three years ago as the management team of NIMASA. Hence, Dr Jamoh’s tenure as DG took effect from March 10, the day that of his predecessor and former boss, Dr Dakuku Peterside ended.
His emergence as the CEO of NIMASA was seen by many as the climax of intense politicking for the soul of the strategic federal agency.
Apart from the records of Mr Patrick Egesi as the DG of the then-National Maritime Authority (NMA), Dr Jamoh is the second ‘home-grown’ head of the agency, considering the fact that he rose to the position of Deputy Director before being catapulted to the Executive Director of the agency; from where he eventually became the CEO.
Jamoh actually joined NIMASA as an Assistant Chief Commercial Officer. He had previously served with the Kaduna state government before transferring his services to the then-National Maritime Authority. So his ascendancy to the headship of NIMASA comes with a lot of expectations.
We embark on this appraisal every year, because he requested for it. While marking his 100 days in office about three years ago, he had challenged the maritime media to be fair in reporting the sector. He had also specifically requested that the media should objectively appraise his performance. “If we do well tell the world, if we fail to perform tell us”, he tasked.
That day; three years ago, he told the world that his administration was adopting a three ‘s’ strategy of Security, Safety and Shipping Development to rejig the agency to reclaim its status in the Nigerian economy.
How time flies! Even though Jamoh inherited a piracy scourge, the story has changed. Prior to his appointment, Nigeria had recorded an unprecedented upsurge in piracy within her territorial waters and within the Gulf of Guinea where she is a dominant player. In 2020, when he was appointed, attacks on ships reached an unprecedented crescendo, as pirates brazenly operated. Nigeria was at that time described as piracy hotbed in the world.
It is a fact that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency under the leadership of Dr. Bashir Jamoh has witnessed tremendous transformation in the last three years.
Upon his appointment, Jamoh set up what is now known as NIMASA ‘3S’ Agenda, which he assured was meant to regulate and promote Maritime Safety and Security, Marine Pollution and Maritime Labour. It is also aimed at promoting the development of indigenous participation in international and coastal shipping trade.
Ye, the last three years have seen clear direction in the areas of implementing the Merchant Shipping Act, the Cabotage Act and the Suppression of Piracy and other related maritime crimes offences Act.
It can be argued that, NIMASA under the current management has achieved and sustained safe, secure shipping, cleaner oceans and enhanced maritime capacity in line with global best practices towards Nigeria’s economic development, which is the mission of the agency.
The signing into law of the SPOMO Act by Mr. President, the launch of the Deep Blue Project has led to significant reduction in piracy and kidnappings, arrests and successful prosecution of criminals
NIMASA, under the watch of the current administration midwife a forum for it to constantly engage international stakeholders such as: BIMCO, INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO, OCIMF, ICS, and international oil companies (IOCs) under the auspices of the industry maritime security work group NIWG which latter transformed into the SHADE Gulf of Guinea.
In the last three years, there has been improved international collaboration and coupled with the enhanced partnership with the Nigerian Navy, security in Nigerian waters and by extension the Gulf of Guinea has greatly improved.
Record showed that since the last quarter of 2021, the issue of piracy has become a thing of the past in Nigeria waters. This is a clear departure from the previous years.
The statistics on piracy and kidnapping in Nigerian waters speak for itself. From 82 cases of piracy in Nigerian waters in 2018, 61 in 2019, 81 in 2020, down to 34 in 2021, and now to nil in 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. No doubt, these achievements have gone a long way in restoring international confidence in the Nigerian maritime industry.
Another significant milestone recorded in the last three years is safety of navigation in Nigerian territorial waters through removal of wrecks and derelicts in Nigerian waters.
We were told that, identification of wrecks preparatory to removal was done in conjunction with the Hydrographic Department of the Nigerian Navy. Jamoh and his team also developed an environmental sensitivity index map of the Nigerian coastline. This charting makes it easy to identify and tackle environmental issues in the maritime sector.
Significantly, in other to attend to the emergencies that may occur after a Search and Rescue Operations, NIMASA has also built two brand new Search and Base clinics of international standard at Azare Crescent, Apapa and Kirikiri. They are expected to be commissioned soon.
By its own admission, NIMASA said at the inception of the current administration, there was no single vessel for enforcement In the area of Flag and Port State Administration.
Today, the agency has built seven brand new bullet proof boats and expected to arrive in the country before the end of March 2023 from Spain where it is being built.
Shipping is responsible for over 90 percent of international transportation of goods that sustain the global supply chain, which is a significant component of the global economy, enhancing import and exports of goods and services.
A viable indigenous fleet will enhance the nation’s participation in shipping. This is what informed the enactment of the Cabotage Act, which also embedded the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF).
Disbursing this fund has been a difficult issue with successive administrations of NIMASA. However, NIMASA under Jamoh has at least broken the first jinx; which is securing the presidential approval for the fund to be disbursed.
Having selected the Primary lending Institutions, maritime industry stakeholders will hold NIMASA accountable to its promise of disbursing the funds before the end of second quarter of 2023.
We also agree with those who have submitted that, the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) has been improved upon by the current leadership at NIMASA.
Records show that more than 2,000 young Nigerians have benefited from this project, which is aimed ad growing new generation of skills in Marine Engineering, Nautical Science and Naval Architecture.
It is most gratifying that many of the beneficiaries are now gainfully employed and sailing on both coastal and international vessels.
Finally, Jamoh has adopted a far less glamorous administrative style than his predecessor. Although he engages, he nevertheless talks less. But he is still visible in the industry.
Going forward, we highly recommend more engagement with critical stakeholders.
Kindly like us on Facebook/twitter