North lags in maritime industry, says Jamoh
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has said that the northern part of the country is lagging in the issue of the maritime industry, with untapped resources worth millions of dollars.
While acknowledging that the north does not have access to the ocean, Jamoh said the inland waterway resources, which abound in the region could be harnessed to the benefit of the indigenes.
Jamoh gave the charge at the weekend while speaking with journalists in Kaduna on the sidelines of his daughter’s wedding ceremony.
He said untapped wealth and unexplored opportunities lie beneath the inland waterways that traversed north while urging states in the region to consider exploring their maritime resources, especially those in the rivers and inland waters.
Jamoh cited Egypt where artificial lakes have been created for maritime activities, adding that the north should begin to think outside the box and dredge its waterways for socio-economic gains.
Specifically, he noted that River Kaduna harbours huge deposits of raw gold, other mineral resources as well as varieties of fishes worth millions of dollars compared to those underneath the sea, unknown to many Nigerians.
“Each time I pass through the River Kaduna, I see dollars and pounds, euro flowing away but I cannot fetch them. All that we are getting or achieving with Athena Sea can equally be got from the inland waterways.
“If we dredge the River Kaduna, we are going to generate a lot of income across the value chain of water resources. It will open up tourism business along the river banks and generate both direct and indirect employment.
“Aside from the tourism business, the resources under the water are enormous: there are a variety of fishes underneath the water most of which are even sweeter and healthier than those we get in the sea because they are exposed to natural foods,” he added.
Jamoh also called for the development of a transportation system for communities across the river stating that the 10,000 kilometres of inland waterways can be developed to harness the real economic potential in the inland waterways while creating direct and indirect jobs for thousands of people.