Following the inauguration ceremony of ministers on Monday, Adegboyega Oyetola, the new Minister of Marine and Blue Economy has commenced his duties in Abuja.
He pledged to develop practical strategies for maximizing the potential of inland rivers, lakes, and waterways for cargo shipping and passenger travel.
Highlighting the global value of the blue economy at over $1.5 trillion annually, Oyetola emphasized Nigeria’s capacity to play a significant role in this sector, contributing to national revenue and job creation.
Oyetola, welcomed by ministry officials including Permanent Secretary; Dr. Magdalene Ajani , Managing Director of the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Dr. George Moghalu and Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shipper’s Council; Emmanuel Jime, stressed the need for innovative solutions to sector challenges, ensuring the safety and sustainability of oceans and marine environments.
“Our oceans cover more than two-thirds of African planet’s surface.
“As we look ahead, my vision is rooted in the responsible management and utilisation of our marine resources to benefit not only our economy but also the health of our planet.
“Experts say the blue economy is estimated to be worth more than 1.5 trillion Dollars per year globally.
“Therefore, given our size as a country and considering the size of our blue economy, we should be a significant player in this sector, “ the minister said.
“Our oceans, covering most of Earth’s surface, hold the key to economic growth, environmental preservation, and technological innovation. I envision responsible management and utilization of marine resources for both economic and planetary well-being,” Oyetola stated.
He highlighted the importance of tapping into Nigeria’s blue economy potential by making inland waterways navigable through comprehensive dredging efforts, facilitating cargo and passenger movements.
He said the nation ought to come up with practicable ways of ensuring the nation`s inland rivers, lakes, and waterways were well utilised, both in terms of cargo shipment and passenger transportation.
“And this can be done by embarking on a holistic dredging campaign for most of our strategically important inland waterways so as to make them navigable for the passage of goods and people.
“We equally have a duty to promote better inter-agency cooperation and coordination between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the Nigerian Ports Authority, and the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority.
“As someone with a strong private sector background, we shall promote greater private sector inclusion while fostering greater efficiency through specialisation and the effective delineation of core duties between the units,“ he said.
Oyetola called for cooperation of the staff toward national development.
“ I appreciate your dedication, and I look forward to working alongside each of you in the pursuit of a better Nigeria. I must say that I am privileged to be joining this amazing team as the team leader.
“ I want you to know that I am here to support you, to listen to your ideas, and to champion the growth of our marine resources. Together, we shall embark on a journey that holds immense promise and responsibility.
“ I believe that when we are able to do all these and more, we will have contributed our own quota toward realising the President’s renewed Hope Agenda in the Marine and Blue Economy sector, “ he said.
Oyetola, the former Osun State governor, promised to enhance collaboration between agencies like the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian Ports Authority, and Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority. He also emphasized private sector involvement, efficiency improvement, and achieving lasting change aligned with the national agenda.