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Mariners decry low utilisation of inland waterways

By Adaku Onyenucheya
17 May 2023   |   3:12 am
The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has decried the non-utilisation and underdevelopment of the inland waterways for decades, despite its potential to promote trade and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy.

President, Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), Capt. Tajudeen Alao (left); first senior Vice President of NAMM, Capt. Onyenenim Iwebuke; Chairman, Technical Committee of NAMM, Capt. Ihenacho Ebubeogu; Former President, NAMM, Capt. Augustine Olugbode; Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Duja Effedua and former President, NAMM, Capt Adewale Ishola at the associations’ conferment ceremony of honorary fellowship award on MAN Rector in Lagos… PHOTO: ADAKU ONYENUCHEYA

NAMM confers fellowship awards on Effedua, Carrodano

The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has decried the non-utilisation and underdevelopment of the inland waterways for decades, despite its potential to promote trade and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy.

NAMM president, Tajudeen Alao, stated this when the association conferred Honorary Fellowship Awards on the Rector of Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Duja Effedua and the former Group Managing Director of Comet Shipping Agencies Nigeria Limited, Captain PierLuigi Carrodano, for their outstanding contributions to the nation’s shipping and maritime industry in the last decade.

Alao lamented the gross underperformance in shipping despite the immense potential and huge contribution of the maritime sector that could play a more significant role than crude oil to the GDP of the country. He regretted that the country was not developing the inland waterways after the handover by the Europeans while pointing out that the Federal Government’s revisit of the Oguta lake-Orashi River dredging project last week was long overdue after years of neglect.

Recall that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, last week, flagged-off the Pre-Dredging Hydrographic Survey of the proposed Sea Access Route from Oguta Lake-Orashi River to the Atlantic Ocean. Osinbajo had said by enhancing coastal connectivity and facilitating seamless transportation, the dredging project will promote trade and investment, spur growth in multiple sectors including shipping, manufacturing, and agriculture, as well as offer numerous opportunities for Imo State, Nigeria and the West Coast of Africa.

“We have inland waterways from Lake Chad up to Badagry to Ogoja-Bakassi. We have the coastal waters, which is about 600 nautical miles and we have the exclusive economic zone, even as we have international waters. As a nation we should play our part and take a little bite in all these areas. We are not developing the inland waterways. Just last week the Federal Government said it wants to dredge Orashi Lake – Oguta River. This is coming after several decades of abandonment. What have we been waiting for? Imagine the multiplier effect and the potential economic benefits in that axis from the project,” Alao stated.

According to him, the country has recorded losses due to wasted man-hours in the evacuation of cargoes from the Lagos ports following the inaccessible roads. He said the problems on the port access roads will not be there if the government has openings with viable ports in other regions.

Speaking on the awards, Alao said the association identifies individuals who have contributed immensely with their knowledge and expertise to the maritime industry and shipping in particular. He said Carrodano has contributed immensely to the country’s shipping industry growth for five decades, while Effedua has turned around the fortunes of the maritime academy, an institution of national pride, in the last four years.

MAN’s rector expressed gratitude at the award, noting that he rates the association and its members highly for their contributions to the developments at the Academy in recent years. He also reeled out his efforts at repositioning the academy as one of the top maritime institutes in Africa with the upgraded infrastructure, modern equipment for capacity building as well as blockage of revenue leakages.

On his part, Carrodano, expressed gratitude for the award and recognition of his contributions to the association, shipping and the maritime industry at large. He also expressed delight at the opportunity to have worked alongside dedicated professionals and experts in their shared pursuit of excellence and progress in the shipping industry.

Carrodano, however, assured of his continuous knowledge, expertise and commitment to advancing the goals of the association, as well as driving positive change and contributing to the growth and safety of the nation’s maritime industry.

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