By Chris Ndibe
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has called on the newly inaugurated board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to ensure speedy completion of the deep blue sea project.
Amaechi, while inaugurating members of the board on Thursday in Abuja, said that the project, when completed, would eradicate insecurity challenges on the country’s waterways.
The board has as Chairman, Mr Honourable Asita, with Bashir Jamoh and Victor Ochei as members.
Other members of the board are Chudi Offordile, Shehu Ahmed, Adekola Adefemi, Muhammed Abubakar, Hassan Mahmud, Eyewumi Neburagho and Rear Adm. Ibikunle Olaiya.
According to Amaechi, the deep blue sea project has been approved by the Federal Government, with over 60 per cent of its cost paid.`
”It is one project I have vowed to promote, in spite of all the interests, and there are too many interests fighting to stop it.
”Now, this board and the management is charged to go and complete that project.
”The Director-General NIMASA has reported in the past one or two weeks, several successful attempts at kidnapping people; they were kidnapped on our waterways and this project is geared toward stopping that.
”Where we are now is the local content of the project, in fact the gentlemen have virtually supplied almost everything for the project.
”I plead with you, so we do not become agents of those who don’t want this to succeed. I am sure we will be able to solve the insecurity problem if this is completed.
”So, you have the responsibility to discharge that quickly and discharge it according to law,” he said.
Amaechi said the success of NIMASA to a great extent would be dependent on the success of the deep blue sea project.
He, therefore, urged the management to work with the board to ensure the success of the project, which would ensure safety of the country’s waterways, a core mandate of the agency.
“Go and work together. Let the board know that there is a difference between board and management. Board initiates policies and management executes policies,’’ he said.
Responding on behalf of members of the board, Asita commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the members the opportunity to serve the country, pledging their commitment to deliver on their mandate.
”I have had cause to express some concerns to you before the inauguration about the insecurity on our waterways.
” I have also had cause to interact with members of the board and have had a few meetings with the Director-General of the agency.
”I want to assure you that we will work together peacefully, harmoniously, knowing the responsibilities of the board and management, and we will work together peacefully to deliver on our mandate.
”We are lucky to have a team of very competent eminent Nigerians as members of the management team of NIMASA.
”So, with the support of members of the board, I assure you that we will take the assignment you have given us very seriously and on behalf of the board, I want to thank you for the honour bestowed on us.
”It is only an irresponsible organisation that will play with the security of its economy.
“If we must trade as a country, we need the waterways to be safe, so we thank you for this opportunity and assure you that we will deliver on the mandate,’’ Asita said.