- By Chukwuemeka Eze
The success hosting of the just concluded 3-day Global Maritime Security Summit in Nigeria has been described as pointer to the fact that the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, is one Nigeria’s best administrative exports to the rest of the world.
Giving the description in a statement issued and circulated in Port Harcourt on Thursday, a respected advocate of good governance in Nigeria and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, also said the seamless conduct of the event and the deliverables it has offered the global maritime sector, have showcased Nigeria and the Transportation Ministry, particularly the administrators in NIMASA, as pace setters in maritime business.
According to Eze, Dr Peterside, who is also the President of African Maritime Industry, by managing the event and its huge crowd from 80 countries of the world, without any drama or unpleasant record, has proven his personal worth as a world administrator and has given credence to the fact that Nigeria still has a great future if young, educated, patriotic and committed Nigerians are saddled with the responsibility of handling key sectors of the country.
The Global Maritime Security Conference, organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, in conjunction with NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy, on behalf of Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea, on 7 – 9 October 2019, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, was attended by international, continental and regional maritime institutions and stakeholders as well as representatives from over 80 nations.
Organised to appraise reported incidents of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, the interconnectedness of the maritime environment and the shared responsibility for effective ocean governance and maritime security, featured deliberations on eleven thematic panels where experts led discussions and proffered solutions and options on a wide spectrum of maritime security and development issues in the region.
According to Eze, during the conference, a number of observations were made on four major clusters of issues to an amenable regional maritime environment. These were:
a. The legal/policy/regulatory framework for maritime security.
b. The institutional framework and capacities.
c. The material, human, financial, technological and other resources needed to enhance security in the GoG.
d. The ways and means of implementing the necessary strategies for enhanced maritime security in the region.
He quoted Dr. Peterside, in his welcome address, as highlighting “the conference was not only unique, but was coming at a critical time in our collective quest for solutions to issues affecting our socio-economic development as nations. Maritime insecurity remains one of the most significant challenges affecting international trade and our quest for sustainable use of our ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and create jobs.
“Many conferences have been convened around the world, seeking solutions to the scourge of maritime insecurity, of which the Gulf of Guinea has been one of the hotspots. Given these developments, and considering the importance of the Gulf of Guinea and its navigational routes to international commerce as well as the global energy balance; Nigeria has taken the initiative by convening this Global Conference to examine the maritime security challenges in the region. Nigeria is keen to drive this initiative because it is a significant destination in the international and domestic shipping map, accounting for over 65% of cargo generated from the Gulf of Guinea region and with rich endowments in oil and gas reserves.
“We have delegates from over eighty (80) countries gathered here today and more than forty (40) global maritime experts who will be making presentations in the course of this three day Conference. The Conference have eleven (11) thematic sessions which have been carefully chosen to ensure holistic coverage of the multidimensional issues associated with maritime security in the 21st century”, he quoted Peterside as saying.
Eze highlighted the following as some of the key policies adopted at the end of the conference amongst others:
1. States of GoG and her international partners should give priority attention to training and capacity building for relevant stakeholders involved in maritime security including national maritime authorities, law enforcement agencies and navies as first responders.
2.. Navies/Coast Guards and maritime law enforcement agencies in the GoG states should engage in regular joint maritime operations, including with international partners, to harmonise operational procedures, training standards and foster interoperability.
3.. GoG States should engage in maritime spatial planning of coastal and urban areas to ensure that maritime security vulnerabilities are not created particularly in proximity to critical maritime infrastructure.
4.. GoG States should explore opportunities for maritime law enforcement through targeted engagement with coastal and fishing communities to support maritime security efforts.
5.. GoG States and the international community should put mechanisms in place to ensure that resources that are illegally harvested/explored in the GoG, including stolen oil and Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishery, are intentionally banned as was the case with the “blood diamonds”.
6.. Conveners of this Conference in liaison with ECOWAS, ECCAS, ICC should constitute a GMSC expert working group to drive the implementation and decisions arising from the Conference.
7.. The Honourable Minister of Transportation of Nigeria should communicate the decisions and recommendations of this Conference to the Presidency of Nigeria and onward to ECOWAS, ECCAS, GGC, AU, IMO and other international partners.
He also praised the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, for exposing to Nigeria and the entire world the person of Dr. Dakuku Peterside, whom he said proven beyond any doubt that he is ripe to handle higher responsibilities.
He, however, congratulated the NIMASA boss and urged him not to relent in his drive to show that Rivers State and Niger Delta at large are world beaters.