Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called for an improved certification regime for boat skippers and better regulation of the operations of non-convention vessels that operate in the inland waterways of the country.
Sanwo-Olu made the call while receiving the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, who was on a working visit to the governor. He said an improved utilisation of Lagos waterways would go a long way in easing the traffic congestion on roads in the state.
The NIMASA DG had informed the governor of the desire of the Agency to effectively collaborate with the state in the areas of capacity development to improve maritime regulation, thus, promoting the blue economy which has the capacity of creating wealth for the nation.
Sanwo-Olu noted that the training and certification of operators of Non Convention Vessels operating on inland waterways is key to improved safety of operations. While noting that the state government is close to delivering 15 new jetties and terminals to enhance waterways transportation in Lagos, he called on NIMASA to consider partnering the private sector for a more effective regulation and certification of small boat operators.
The governor stated, “We know NIMASA has done well in regulating the operations of large vessels calling at our waters, which is very necessary for the nation’s economic wellbeing. Considering the activities of small craft in our inland waterways, we in Lagos desire improved regulation of operations in terms of certification, which comes directly under NIMASA. You may consider partnering the private sector under your strict supervision to improve certification of operators on our inland waterways. Fifteen new jetties and terminals being constructed by the state government will soon be ready for use.”
The governor, who acknowledged Dr Jamoh’s knowledge of the maritime industry, also listed water hyacinth management, wreck removal, and deep seaport operations as areas that Lagos State and NIMASA can collaborate to ensure Nigeria benefits more from the blue economy. He indicated the state’s interest in hosting the campus of a maritime academy.
On his part, the NIMASA DG identified areas of collaboration between the Agency and Lagos State Government to include human capacity development, fishing industry development, and marine waste management, all geared towards harnessing the nation’s potentials in the blue economy.
While stating that NIMASA was also collaborating with other littoral states, the NIMASA DG commended Lagos State Government for efforts at ensuring security on land, which has a multiplier effect on security on the waters. He emphasised that “90% of maritime crimes are conceived on land. Lagos State has done so much in terms of security on land and this has a multiplier effect on the security of the maritime domain in the Lagos area. We seek collaboration to enhance our operations in the interest of Nigeria as a nation.
“NIMASA needs alliances to develop policies that would ensure Nigeria effectively harnesses her potentials in the blue economy. Lagos State has comparative advantage over other states in Nigeria and we are willing and ready to partner with Lagos State Government.”