.Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa (middle); Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh (third left); Executive Director, Finance and Administration, NIMASA, Hon. Chudi Offodile (left); Executive Director, Operations, Shehu Ahmed (second right); Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Victor Ochei (third right); President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. MkGeorge Onyung (right); and Special Assistant to the NIMASA Director-General on Communications and Strategy, Mr. Ubong Essien (second left), during a courtesy visit to Okowa by NIMASA’s Executive Management team at Government House, Asaba recently
Gov. Dr Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has pledged to partner the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to build a virile blue economy in the country.
Okowa made the pledge in a statement signed by Mr Philip Kyanet, Head, Corporate Communications, NIMASA, on Friday in Lagos.
Okowa said that the blue economy would also have a strong maritime business base in the state.
He noted that the coming of the Nigeria Maritime University was instrumental in bringing about peace and reconciliation in the Niger Delta region.
He said, “I am aware that we have been having issues with the ship repairs and building project and we will be happy to see this industry established to complement the university.
“We are aware that a lot of scholarships have been given to Delta people and I must register our appreciation to NIMASA,” Okowa said.
He recalled that the Maritime University located at Okerenkoko, in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta, was established in 2017, with the active support of NIMASA.
“Indeed, the coming of the university gave birth to peace in the Niger Delta and we must appreciate NIMASA for its contribution.
“I am glad that a lot is being done by NIMASA, particularly in Delta and we will continue to appreciate it so that you will continue to do more,” he said.
Dr Bashir Jamoh, NIMASA Director General, said the participation and support of the government and people of the Niger Delta were key factors in the successful development of a robust blue economy in the country.
“It is my sincere pleasure to be with you as part of our stakeholders’ sensitisation in terms of the development of the maritime sector.
” We felt there should be a moral and political buy-in from everyone in the littoral states.
“Our maritime sector is a huge treasure trove of development opportunities. The sector can fetch us even much more than oil, as recent studies by experts, including the World Bank, have shown.
“As an agency of the Federal Government, and the maritime regulatory body of the country, we should be in the vanguard of this new move to get our critical stakeholders on board as we strive to wean Nigeria off oil dependence,” Jamoh said.
He noted that in the last seven years, the agency had sited three major maritime projects in Delta, which included the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, the country’s first maritime university; the NIMASA Science and Technical College, Okoloba; and a proposed shipyard for ship repairs.
He disclosed that over 1,000 Delta State indigenes had benefited from the agency’s overseas scholarship scheme to study marine-related courses.
Jamoh called for more participation from the government and people of Delta in harnessing of the enormous maritime potential of the region.
“Opportunities for profitable investment abound in shipbuilding, ship repairs, ship recycling, and shipping,” he said.
Jamoh was accompanied on the visit by the three Executive Directors: Victor Ochei (Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services), Shehu Ahmed (Operations), and Hon. Chudi Offodile (Finance and Administration).