FG boasts of secure maritime borders, improved transport infrastructure
The Federal Government has provided safe and secure maritime borders to prevent illegal activities on the nation’s international waters, inland waterways and railway corridors in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders from 2015 till date.
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, disclosed this while presenting the scorecard of the ministry under President Muhammadu Buhari, from 2015 till date at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture Press Centre, Radio House, Abuja.
Sambo said the Federal Government made the strides through implementation of some interventions, which include, the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure also known as the Deep Blue Project and passage of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act 2019 into Law.
He said the Deep Blue Project, which includes deployment of air, land and sea assets, has helped to prevent illegal activities in Nigeria’s maritime waters, thereby, aiding regional security in the Gulf of Guinea and the Maritime Organisation for the West and Central Africa (MOWCA) jurisdictions.
According to the minister, since the commissioning of the project in 2021, Nigeria has not recorded a single incident of piracy in its maritime domain, adding that the government is further preparing to challenge the war zone insurance burden on Nigeria-bound ships by the international shipping community.
Sambo said the President’s assent to the Anti-Piracy Bill (SPOMO), which was a big relief to the maritime community and other stakeholders in the Gulf of Guinea and West and Central Africa Maritime Region, has prevented and suppressed piracy, armed robbery and other unlawful act against ship, aircraft and other maritime craft, including fixed and floating platforms.
He said the SPOMO Act has also opened the doorway for the administration of Justice for Piracy and other Maritime Offenses in the country.
The minister also noted that the present administration has made giant strides in bridging infrastructural deficit in the transportation sector, which includes, the railway modernisation programme, the deep-sea ports development programme, the inland dry port initiative, job creation and introduction of favourable policies among others.
He said President Buhari ensured the development of ports infrastructure, like the Lekki and Badagry deep seaports, adding that the existing seaports are being maintained in conformity with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards and conventions.
He said the government’s development of inland dry ports is an economic strategy of bringing shipping close to shippers in the hinterland and providing a platform to serve the country’s landlocked neighbours in line with the Almaty Convention.
Sambo said the intervention in the transportation sector has contributed to the growth and sustainability of other areas of the economy, which include, wealth creation, improving access to agricultural production centres and markets, movement of raw materials and distribution of finished products.
Other areas he listed are: facilitating tourism, domestic and international trade; sustainability of mining and extractive industry as well as being a major support base in contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
Sambo said, to underpin the critical role of transportation, this present administration has made transportation infrastructure a priority both in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020) and the National Development Plan (NDP 2021-2025).
Sambo also commended the President Buhari-led administration for signing treaties and agreements that facilitate smooth movement of goods and persons as well as facilitating trade and transport through the removal of physical and non-physical barriers among member states.
On development of local capacity, the minister said the government has continued to ensure the sustained development of requisite manpower for the sector through the Institute of Transport Technology and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria.
Speaking on job creation, Sambo said, “the programme, projects, initiatives and interventions carried out within the period in focus, created massive direct skilled and unskilled jobs as well as millions of indirect jobs in the various sub-sectors supervised by the Ministry.”
He, however, added that a sustainability plan is also in the pipeline with best practices in the sector for massive infrastructure development going on in the sector.