Establishment of littoral states blue economy boosted NIMASA’s Bashir Jamoh race to Zik Prize – Aide
• As states rush for roles to boost their economies
The successful establishment of littoral states economic group (Blue Economy) is said to have helped to boost the emergence of Bashir Jamoh, Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), as the latest winner of the Zik Prize in public policy and administration.
The Zik Prize award is one of the most prestigious prizes in Africa often conferred on topmost men and women with distinct and proven records in spheres of human endeavour.
NIMASA under Jamoh is also said to be taking note of coastal areas such as Oron waters where criminals still disturb water transportation. NIMASA is said to be noting notes and working with states to come up with a strategy to extend protection to such vulnerable areas especially as it is understood that some of the pirates driven away from the high waters may be making their way to inner waters.
Explaining Jamoh’s emergence to the gem, his special assistant on communications and strategy, Ubong Essien, told top correspondents in Port Harcourt at the weekend that the Zik Prize board also looked at the huge impact of the blue economy nationwide, the Deep Blue Project that has helped to reduce piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to the barest minimum in recent memory, and the flag-off of 200 cadets to foreign countries, etc, as sterling policies and initiatives that stood him out in the past one year in the public space.
Jamoh was co-winner of the award which was presented to him at a very impressive ceremony where the recent achievements of NIMASA were highlighted to a global audience to show that despite all odds and the opaqueness of the African continent, that Nigeria is still producing top leaders and brains that can be trusted to turn things around.
Explaining the policy successes and their implementation, Essien said Jamoh who came into office in March 2020 launched the NIMASA Performance Tripod anchored on what he called the ‘SSS’ or ‘Triple S’ which rest on Security, Safety and Shipping.
Explaining further, he said the objective of the Maritime Security policy is to return security to the waters and create a safe coast area.
On Maritime Safety, he said it seeks to look at how Nigeria can secure an enabling environment so that shipping can take place in a safe and secure place.
On the third prong, Shipping Development, Essien quoted the DG as saying it looks at the capacity Nigeria needs so that shipping can thrive. “This is what the DG described as the NIMASA Performance Tripod. He wants Nigerians to assess him on these three items.”
As he outlined, Maritime Security looks at safer seas so that Nigeria can be attractive, especially looking at what was happening in the Gulf of Guinea, the criminality in the place that was earning Nigeria a very negative reputation. So, he went on, the policy seeks solution to this.
“Safety looks at the operational and environmental wellbeing of the area of jurisdiction. If a ship is going to sail, let’s make sure that our shores are clear and safe.
“Shipping Viability policy is to give birth to a productive shipping industry. His conviction is that without capacity, Nigeria as a maritime force cannot take advantage of all of her coastal opportunities; the country cannot achieve the dreams of the Blue Economy.’
Essien said those assessing the DG would admit that the Deep Blue Project has been signed, sealed, and delivered, as the DG himself likes to put it. “The President launched it himself and the assets have been released into action.”
The security project is believed to be yielding huge dividends, not only in reducing pirate attacks but in the many arrests and recent convictions secured. With the latest 10 convictions and fines of N200,000 each by a federal high court sitting in Ikoyi for hijacking a merchant vessel, FV Hailufeng II, on May 15, 2020, the total number of convictions is 20. This is being achieved under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act of 2019.
He said: “This is the first time such feat has been recorded in Nigeria’s waters. Before now, there were no strong legal instruments to hold the criminals or pirates. Now, Nigeria is becoming a model in the Gulf of Guinea in terms of security the nation’s security architecture and model.”
Showing why the Zik Prize board was impressed by the feats of the NIMASA DG, Essien said the award is an important achievement that has proved that the DG is on the right part. “The award was anchored on critical achievements on the Performance Tripod, thus; Deep Blue Project, SHADE, and establishing littoral states collaboration for Blue Economy.
“An example of the Littoral States programme is the willingness of some states to volunteer participation in some aspects of the Blue Economy. For instance, Bayelsa State has offered to do recycling of wrecks. It is going to be a collaboration project with NIMASA, Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC), Bayelsa, with a South African Tech company. This may produce parts from the recycled wrecks for the NRC from the wrecks.”
He said some states prefer coming in from training and manpower development schemes. Some will do fishing, etc. Ours is to galvanise these states and partners to embark on the Blue Economy. These efforts are expected to create employments and market for the products. NIMASA IS out to boost that aspect of the economy. We want to make fishing much more economical. Tourism is a sector waiting for action. Our aim is to galvanise the littoral states to participate in areas they have comparative advantage.”
He revealed that NIMASA is helping in the mapping of the environment on sensitivity. “This is one of the ways NIMASA is trying to boost the Blue Economy vision.”
Explaining SHADE, he said it’s a strategy for the Gulf of Guinea. “Shared Awareness and De-confliction (SHADE) is an international operational counter piracy platform, convened by various regional maritime blocs to harness resources of industry and navy within the bloc of nations of specific regions to checkmate the incidents of piracy and all other forms of criminal activities at sea in order to ensure seamless, safe and secure shipping activities.
“It is essentially a Maritime Collaboration Forum (MCF). Nigeria spearheaded the creation of the SHADE for the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) under the leadership of the DG of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh and it is captured as GoG-MCF/SHADE.”
He said as at last year (2020) when President Buhari moved for the collaboration in the region, Nigeria did not have such collaboration that would bring everybody together to share information, intelligence and assets. It is to be such that if anything develops close to country ‘A’, another country that has assets closest to it can move in. It was around April 2021 that the agreement was formally flagged off.
“We have had two plenary sessions in the area. The third plenary would soon be taking place. These are the major milestones that the current DG of NIMASA has recorded to galvanise all the countries as done in other regions, all in the bid to ensure security within our waters.”