Abiola Seun |
Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State has solicited for the support of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), in the completion of $3billion deep seaport project in Agge and ridding its waterway of criminalities such as piracy, sea robbery and to build a healthier marine ecosystem.
Speaking on Monday during his working visit to Bashir Jamoh, Director General of NIMASA at the agency’s headquarters in Lagos, Governor Diri, stated that the State is significant in the nation’s maritime community as all the Local Government Areas in the state are presently accessible by water, which shows the need to join hands with NIMASA to strengthen Nigeria’s maritime domain.
He also noted that the seaport project when completed would provide job opportunities for many unemployed Nigerian youths.
Diri further revealed that the state government in partnership with NIMASA is hoping to undertake a survey tour of Agge ahead of the commencement of the construction work at the proposed deep sea port site which, he said, would attract huge investments to the area.
“On assumption of office, about five months ago, we came up with plans on how to expand the economic base of the state. Part of the plans we consider is the construction of deep Seaport in Agge.
Speaking on insecurity, the Bayelsa State governor urged the agency to extend its C4i centre to the the state.
“We are hoping that NIMASA would extend the Command, Control, Computer Communication and Information (C4i) technology to Bayelsa to help deal with issues of kidnapping, piracy and all other criminal activities, which the state has been grappling with for long,” he said.
The Governor also solicited for NIMASA’s support in removing wreckages on Bayelsa State’s waterways, which have been impeding safe navigation of vessels and boats especially at nights.
“These wrecks have been causing accidents on our waters and they were as a result of the operations of oil companies that are doing business in the state.
Responding, Jamoh, who acknowledged the enormous maritime opportunities in Bayelsa State, assured that the agency would put plans in motion to partner with the state in order to enable it realise its maritime potentials.
Jamoh stated that the agency is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring safety of the nation’s maritime domain, which has been further enhanced by the plan to integrate the C4i facility with Falcon eye of the Nigerian Navy and that of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
On wreck removal, he also disclosed that the agency has been given a go ahead by other agencies that were also empowered to remove wrecks like the NPA and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), to be solely responsible for removing wrecks on Nigerian waters.
“Wreck removing and recycling are money minting ventures but unfortunately, Nigeria does not have wreck recycling plants. Therefore, we propose that states like Bayelsa can build a wreck recycling plant that can boost its economy and create jobs for its teeming youths,” Jamoh suggested.
According to him, the state needs to look into establishing a ship building yards for job creation even as he promised that NIMASA would always take the State along anytime it revives its National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
“In fighting maritime insecurity, there is need to introduce enabling triangle, which puts away the use of force in fighting insecurity. We need to sensitise the youth in our communities on the benefits of staying away from marine related crimes. The State must also be able to provide infrastructure as well as introduce good governance through human friendly policies that would drive economic growth,” Jamoh advised.
Meanwhile, Governor Diri, who disclosed that the State is on the verge of establishing a Maritime Academy and building Deep Seaport, solicited for the support of NIMASA in the building of both the academy as well as successful completion of Agge Deep Seaport in Bayelsa.
The Governor also solicited for the support of the agency in training of Bayelsa youths in order to build the needed capacity for job creation in the state.
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