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Spate of Commissioning: NIMASA DG’s ‘Tour of Duty’ in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Port Harcourt

Spate of Commissioning: NIMASA DG’s ‘Tour of Duty’ in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Port Harcourt

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has been in the news almost every week in the past one month. This is because the Director-General (DG) who is the CEO of the Agency, Bashir Jamoh, has been on the move round the country. This is what observers have termed a ‘Tour of Duty’.

By his trips, the Agency and the country are said to be the better for it.

Jamoh led top officials and directors of the board to Port Harcourt a week ago during which he supported the former Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, represented by the permanent secretary, Magdalene Ajani, to commission two sensitive but critical projects.

The commissioning tours began in Lagos, the headquarter area where the minister commissioned five enforcement boats and four ferries for staff of the Agency. Also commissioned were newly acquired gadgets to enhance communication between NIMASA operational base and vessels in Nigerian waters, an ultra-modern ‘Search and Rescue Base Clinic located in Apapa, the newly developed multipurpose hall and an administrative block for the Agency in its Kirikiri operational base.

Enforcement is what gives any regulatory agency a bite, without which operators in that sector would carry on as if law did not exist. It is enforcement the defines one territorial entity from the other, and seafarers know this damn too well. Before entering into any territory, they are known for discussing ahead and warning their crew members how to behave. That is why the provision of enforcement boats appeal very strategic.

Such boats boast of new engines, speed power, signal and communication gadgets, and enough security support to confront any offender especially pirates that seem to drag for power at sea and in the inland waterways.

The provision of the communication systems seems to be perfect accompaniment to the enforcement boats. Along the same value is the significance of the Search and Rescue Base Clinic. This is because, there always are incidents at sea which will require aligned medical facility and personnel to attend to the rather than going all the way to the general medical facilities in the cities.

The minister (now out of office) was thus not out of order to in commending the Jamoh-led administration at NIMASA for feat in Lagos. He noted the projects and facilities would have tremendous positive impacts on the Agency and the entire blue economy of Nigeria especially as the nation seeks more vibrant ways of diversifying its economy.

The then minister had stated that the maritime remains the catalyst for Nigeria’s growth as a country and the nation must do all it can to ensure the sector remained viable for investors. “If we want to benefit from the potentials of our blue economy, we must be able to reinvent the wheel in such a manner that would boost the confidence of foreign and local investors in our maritime domain and these projects are laying credence to our efforts.

“It is our belief that our efforts to bring these projects to fruition would have made significant positive impacts on the decisions of investors in our maritime sector.”

He took time to talk about enforcement boats, and said: “I am aware of the impact these boats would have on the regulatory mandate of NIMASA. It is expected that those who have plans of carrying out nefarious acts in our maritime domain would have a rethink because NIMASA now has additional platforms to enforce compliance of its regulations. This will further enhance security in our domain in order for maritime businesses to thrive.”

The DG of NIMASA helped to put the facilities into operational perspective when he said the newly commissioned assets would ensure Nigeria’s maritime administration sustained its leadership role in the maritime sector of Africa, ensuring that the impact of its maritime security architecture is felt in the Gulf of Guinea and the entire African maritime domain.

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Jamoh noted that the investment in the communication gadgets alongside the enforcement boats will not only add more value to the nation’s maritime security architecture, but also enhance NIMASA’s primary role of Port and Flag State Administration.

He added that the Search and Rescue Base Clinic (SARBC) was to meet basic requirements of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), since Nigeria is host to the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Center for the West and Central Africa Region.

He made it clear that maritime cannot thrive without effective search and rescue status because accidents do happen, as much as citizens don’t want them. What matters is effective response, he stated.

“What NIMASA has done is to upgrade the SAR clinic to the standards that would ensure it meets up with rescue centers of global repute. The issue of health in the Transport sector must always be at the front burner.”

Abuja:

End to rented accommodation in zonal headquarters

The DG continued the ‘Tour of Duty’ which included commissioning of zonal offices that had been in rented accommodation for almost five decades.

Thus, the newly acquired NIMASA office in the Federal Capital Territory was also commissioned by the then minister. This activity brought to an end, over a decade of the Agency operating from a rented facility in the Federal Capital.

The DG made what observers saw as a significant revelation. He said the NIMASA trains its workers in some of the best institutions in the world, and that it would be out of place for such workers to come back to Nigeria and be presented with office facilities that discourage creativity and hard work.

The Agency, he said, was proud to commission the ultramodern Abuja Liaison Office that he said matches international standards. It was a 5-flour building sitting on 1,361 Square meters.

Speaking in Abuja, Jamoh said it is a top-notch edifice that is well automated and equipped with modern gadgets including Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV), modern elevators, and secured electric-wired fencing system.

The DG said: “In addition the modern gadgets are in line with international standards. Conveniences, dining room, elevators and rear staircase, exterior made of aluminum clad coverings, and air conditioning systems are adequately provided to ensure maximum comfort for staff and visitors alike,” he added.

The NIMASA boss said similar projects were underway in the agency’s Lokoja and Calabar offices.

Apparently overjoyed, the then Transportation minister, (Sambo), urged members of staff of the NIMASA to double their efforts to ensure improved service delivery and economic development.

He said that establishing a permanent Zonal office for the agency was imperative because of its strategic role in the sector.

Kaduna:

NIMASA successfully commissioned two projects in Kaduna to curb crime. The Agency commissioned a skill acquisition centre in Zaria, Kaduna State, and a twin lecture theatre donated by the Agency to Kaduna State University.

The skill acquisition centre located in Zaria could boast of electrical, technical, mechanical, sewing, and welding learning facilities for youths and women.

Speaking at the event, Sambo, the immediate past minister of Transportation, said the projects were part of the legacies of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to improve education as a basic need for economic development.

The then minister commended the Jamoh-led management of the NIMASA for the initiative.

On his part, Jamoh observed that the NIMASA skill acquisition centre is one of the centres located across the country’s six geo-political zones. He also disclosed that higher institutions in all geo-political zones of the country are benefitting from the Agency under her Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects.

He explained that the desire of the Agency is to ensure young Nigerians acquired skills to make them self-dependent and thus productively engaged. “We are also developing such centres in Niger, Lagos, Anambra, Gombe, Bayelsa and Rivers States. This is also aimed at fighting insecurity on land which will have a multiplier effect on security in the maritime domain,” he said.

At the event, the sitting governor then, Nasir El-Rufai, who was represented by Hadiza Balarabe, his deputy, commended NIMASA for completing the project in record time.

The Emir of Zaxxau, Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli, joined in the profuse commendation of NIMASA for citing the project in the Emirate council. He assured that the centre would be maintained for the benefit of the people.

Port Harcourt:

The case of Port Harcourt appeared most pathetic such that the DG wondered aloud how humans were expected to work out of the rented apartment that was NIMASA’s regional headquarter.

The then minister was also elated, and poured huge praises on NIMASA and the DG on the successful commissioning of two very critical projects expected to boost the execution of the mandate of the Agency.

The Ph projects were the Centre for Logistics and Transport Studies in the University of Port Harcourt, and the new NIMASA Zonal Headquarters in Port Harcourt located at the GRA Phase 1 in the heart of the Garden City.

The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary Ajani, noted that the successful completion of the two infrastructure projects along with others being commissioned by the Agency in other parts of the country was a demonstration of commitment, dedication, and huge effort in collaboration with other stakeholders to translate the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari in the maritime sector.

Unveiling the Centre at the University of Port Harcourt, the Minister said: “This is evidence of Federal Government’s determination to provide infrastructure. The target is to boost human capital development. This place will serve as a centre to develop competitiveness.”

The Minister noted that students would need first-rate facilities to compete with the global maritime community. He said; “They will have world class facilities to train and aspire to contest with the best in the world in their chosen field.”

At the new zonal headquarters of NIMASA in Port Harcourt, the Minister said the new complex would help in planning and carrying out effective regulation of the maritime sector.

He said the successful establishment of the Maritime Clinic at the new complex would be very beneficial to the zone especially seafarers and in rescue efforts.

Earlier in his address at the Centre for Logistics and Transport Studies in the UNIPORT, the DG, Jamoh, noted that the Logistics Centre is expected to produce workers that would lead Nigeria’s maritime industry to global levels.

Jamoh said research had revealed that greed, poverty, poor governance, poor human capital capacity, and some others were identified as huge drawbacks to the blue economy.

The DG said: “Education and training are key to anything government wants. The maritime industry is in disarray but we have gone far to install stability. We have engineered policy management and policies that can move maritime industry to global levels, and these policies will help the youth to contribute to the growth of the economy.”

The Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Clifford Ofurum, who represented the Vice Chancellor, Owunari Abraham Georgewill, commended the DG of NIMASA for doing everything possible to make the establishment and construction work of the centre a reality.

At the new zonal headquarters, the DG commended the staff members and wondered how they coped over the decades in the bad condition of the rented apartment.

He however urged them to be ready to perform their tasks and to double their revenue grossing especially in oil lifting rates.

He announced the arrival of 11 armoured vessels to the Agency to help in the fight against piracy. He also told the staff in the zone to expect two bullet-proof buses to enable them carry out their field duties of enforcement and regulation.

Conclusion:

Every good head and leader of a team strives to set agenda at the onset and dedicate his/her entire tenure trying to achieve them.

Jamoh had set out with his ‘Triple S’ which hinges on safety in the waters. He has thus continued to maintain focus on ensuring the Nigerian maritime sector takes its rightful place in the comity of maritime nations.