By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
In a bid to position the Nigerian Maritime sector for efficiency to drive trade, the Nigerian Maritime Administrative and Safety Agency says it will in the next three days brainstorm in Calabar, the Cross River State capital to develop a document that will guide its operations and will be tagged; ‘The Calabar Road Map’.
The Director General, Dakuku Peterside stated this in his remarks when alongside the Chairman of the agency’s board, Major General Jonathan Garba (rtd) led a delegation of staff on a courtesy visit on Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade Tuesday, where he disclosed that the Calabar port can drive marine transportation in the country.
He said that; “All trades globally are achieved through maritime. We could produce oil and gas, we could produce non oil products but if the maritime transportation is not right, trading with the world will be practically impossible.
“With the celebrated Superhighway, the role of the seaport in driving the economy cannot be overemphasized. We have brought our directors to brainstorm on these issues with the view of repositioning the agency in line with global trends and to bridge the gap between policy making and implementation” Dakuku said , adding that after the three days event; “The resolution and policy formulated at the event will be nicknamed; “Calabar Road Map”.
Peterside who said the Calabar port was the first in the country to receive foreign ships as far back as the 15th century said that; “Calabar, more than any other place has the potential to drive coastal transportation in Nigeria” as one can easily travel to coastal areas in the country” as it has “The longest navigational channel in the country.”
Ayade, in his remarks commended the choice of Calabar and called on NIMASA to assist in the plight of the Bakassi people.
The Governor lamented that; “The dislocation of our social structure and the anthropological kurtosis that has come therewith has created a situation where Bakassi has become a haven for all militancy and military activities. Militancy form the part of the youths and the military sitting there to also check them and therefore we have two local governments that are in very heavy state of extreme exhibition of prowess.”
He called on them to act fast as Bakassi is “the agglutination and melting point of this energy”.
On maritime driving trade, Ayade maintained that; “He couldn’t have been more correct that 90 percent of trade is ferried through waterborne travels and there is no way you can have sustainable mercantile transactions if you depend on roads or rails to move your goods and services. Obviously that is the way to go, that is the way to think, that is the focus that shows NIMASA has a clear direction.”
Lamenting the situation of the Bakassi people, Ayade said that his administration’s decision to site the Deep Seaport at Bakassi was not just because it was right geographically, but because; “It also makes econo-political sense that the people can now have a sense of belonging that this government under President Buhari has approved a deep seaport for the Bakassi people.”
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