The Governor of Bayelsa, Sen. Duoye Diri, on Monday said that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was key in weaning Nigeria from its dependence on crude oil.
Diri disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr Philip Kyanet, Head, Corporate Communications, NIMASA in Lagos.
Diri, who was on a courtesy visit to NIMASA, added that the most enduring wealth of the country was in the maritime domain.
He noted that the country’s future depended on the successful harnessing of the enormous resources in its marine environment.
The governor appealed to NIMASA to increase its presence in Bayelsa, especially in the area of domain awareness, to ensure security in the state’s maritime environment and build confidence in investments in its huge maritime potential.
“A lot of countries are moving away from fossil fuel and the maritime sector gives Nigeria an alternative.
“All the eight local governments in our state can be accessed by water. In fact, the headquarters of three of these local governments can only be reached by water. This shows how important our state is to national maritime development.
“We are, therefore, seeking partnership with NIMASA, which is the apex maritime regulatory agency of our country, to enable the organisation to expand her regulatory activities to our state.
“NIMASA and Bayelsa are inextricably one, and there is need for both to work together to strengthen the country’s maritime domain,” he said.
Diri appealed to NIMASA to help in the removal of wrecks that had impaired navigation in many parts of the coastal state.
He urged NIMASA to support the state to develop its maritime potential, especially in the areas of training, youth development, establishment of a maritime academy in the state, and the development of the Agge Deep Seaport in Ekeremor Local Government Area.
Responding, the NIMASA Director-General, Dr Bashir Jamoh, said Bayelsa was one of the agency’s strongest allies in the pursuit of its mandate of sustainable regulation and promotion of the maritime sector.
He said security was of utmost importance in the realisation of a prosperous maritime sector.
Diri added that he would facilitate the incorporation of Bayelsa in the ongoing effort to integrate the maritime domain awareness facilities of relevant stakeholders.
He listed the relevant stakeholders to include: NIMASA’s C4i, Nigerian Navy’s Falcon Eye, the Nigerian Ports Authority’s C3i, and the i247 of the Nigeria Police.
“Bayelsa holds the key to the growth of our economy because a huge part of our coastline falls within the state.
“Thankfully, the issue of wreck removal has been sorted out and we have concluded the marking and identification of all wrecks and derelicts across the country for removal,” he said.
The DG assured the governor of the agency’s support in terms of maritime growth and would look into expanding their office in Bayelsa, in order to have more presence in the state.(NAN)