Untapped marine resources endanger prospects in maritime sector
The huge untapped prospects inherent in Nigeria’s maritime space have denied the nation a significant amount of revenue capable of sustaining the overall economy.
The experts, who gathered at the Lagos International Maritime week, argued that the underutilization of the God-given resources is already having a negative impact on the nation’s wobbled economy.
They blamed the reckless attitude of the citizens, lack of accurate data, poor record-keeping, policy summersaults, security challenges, and unfavourable operating environment, as a bane to optimal utilization of marine resources.
Chairman of Shipowners Forum, Margaret Orakwusi, bemoaned the deliberate and conscious under utilisation of the immensed potential embedded in the sector.
Orakwusi who spoke on “Africa Blue Economy: Innovation, Sustainability, and Diversity”, added that the incursion of poachers into the coastal areas and lack of regulated close seasons of maritime activities are hampering the system.
She said: “Our attitudes towards sea and oceans should change. Indiscriminate dumping of toxic matters, which has caused water pollution and breeding of strange species in the water should stop, and this can be possible through conscious regulations.
“More so, the government should be proactive and ensure accurate data and record-keeping for planning and policy design. They should stop treating this sector with kid gloves as well as the tourism industry, it is high time we woke up from slumber.”
She called on the state’s government to monitor closely the activities of land developers and builders, who build houses and other structures without restrooms, saying that such actions have aggravated the ugly conditions of the waterways.
However, other maritime experts maintained that agencies in the sector are not relenting in achieving a safe and efficient sector.
Speaking on behalf of the Inspector-General of Police, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Adegoke Fayode, said the Marine Police division is on top gear to combat water-related crimes, pledging the force’s resolve to fight sea and ocean criminals through a collaboration of sisters agencies.
Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, who was represented by Rear Admiral Olaiya, said the Nigerian Navy is taking actions to dash the activities of sea robbers, who frustrate the operations of genuine businessmen and women along the coastal region.
He mentioned that the service has intensified more efforts to arrest and enforce necessary measures against those perpetrating evil in the maritime domain.
According to him, “Though the activities of these maritime traitors are nightmarish, we are not daunted because the security of life and property along the coastal areas of Nigeria is our mandate.”