…As Dakuku rallies continent for greater role in marine biodiversity
By Samson Echenim
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, will on Thursday in Lagos lead other stakeholders, including Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo- Ita, and key maritime industry players, to the opening of activities marking this year’s African Day of Seas and Oceans. The occasion meant to highlight the potential and opportunities in the continent’s vast maritime domain, is organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The event in Nigeria, with the theme, “Harnessing Nigeria’s Marine Biodiversity for Accelerated Economic Growth,” echoes the African Union (AU) subject for the 2019 African Day of Seas and Oceans, “Enhancing Africa’s Role in a Globally Binding Instrument on Marine Biological Diversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction.”
Ahead of the event, the host, Dakuku Peterside, the director general of NIMASA, who also serves as chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), emphasised the need to dismantle national boundaries that impede effective utilisation of Africa’s vast marine resources.
Dakuku stated, “The importance of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction cannot be overemphasised, considering that Africa is greatly endowed with vast maritime resources and opportunities which must be harnessed for economic development and wealth creation.”
Dakuku further enphasised the essence of the event, while receiving Oladele Bamidele Jaji , a Rear Admiral and the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, in preparation for the African Day of Seas and Oceans.
Speaking on the vital role of the Nigerian Navy, Dakuku said without effective security it will be impossible to reap the benefits of the marine environment. He identified shipwreck as a major challenge of the Nigerian marine environment. But he said NIMASA was partnering with the hydrographic survey department of the Navy to isolate, chart and mark wrecks with the support of the agency’s intelligence information system, which has the capacity to capture every area of the Nigerian maritime domain.
Besides Gbajabiamila, who is the guest of honour for the event, and Oyo- Ita, who is chairperson, dignitaries expected at the occasion holding at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, include Sabiu Zakari, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, who is the chief host.
AU at its 22nd Ordinary Assembly declared 2015 to 2025 as the decade of African Seas and Oceans, and July 25 as African Day of Seas and Oceans.