28th September, 2012
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, has stated that shipping business remains a key sector for the country to harness her enormous potentials in the maritime sector.
Akpobolokemi urged all ethnic groups in the country to come together as a unit in supporting President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s transformation agenda for the maritime sector, if the country wants to achieve full-fledged development in the sector.
Akpobolokemi made this call when he played host to a top delegation of Ohaneze clans led by a former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, to the NIMASA Headquarters in Lagos.
According to him, the role of the Igbo community in the development of commerce in the country’s shipping business cannot be overemphasised, stressing that the maritime sector remains a key sector in the country’s economic development.
“Today, all of us know that it will be difficult for Nigeria to make any progress if Igbo people are not there. Principally, because of their immense ontribution to trade and technology transfer business in African context.
“Therefore, the survival of the Igbo race is important to the survival of the country as a whole,” Akpobolokemi said.
The NIMASA boss explained that it was the agency’s mandate to see to the end all forms of sea criminality, piracy and oil theft rocking the industry, adding that the maritime administration agency could only achieve positive result if everybody plays their role effectively.
He said that NIMASA has collaborated with the University of Nsukka (UNN) as one out of the four universities selected for the establishment of maritime institutes in the country.
The institute, he said, is to develop human capacity to fill existing gaps in the maritime sector in the areas of marine engineering, naval architecture, and other related disciplines.
“When we are contemplating on the issue of establishing maritime institute centres in Nigeria, I said one of the institutes must be based in Igbo land because of the commercial role the Igbo race has played towards the development of the country’s economy, especially in the areas of export and import.
“And today, UNN, Nsukka, is chosen as one of the centres that will offer maritime studies in Nigeria,” he said.
The Director-General said that the Igbo race maintained a pole position in the area of commerce in Nigeria as they can be found in almost every small community in Nigeria and their activities have undoubtedly added to the overall growth of the nation.
He informed the group that the Federal Government appreciates the contribution of the Igbo race to the growth of Nigeria which partly explained the inclusion of two southeast states of Abia and Imo in the amnesty scheme which led to the selection of some students from these states to go for studies abroad on full scholarship by the government.