Nigeria committed to harnessing full Potential of maritime resources – Minister

The Minister of Defence, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru, has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to harnessing the full potential of the nation’s maritime resources for economic prosperity.

Badaru said this in Abuja on Friday at the commemoration of the 2024 World Hydrography Day, organised by the Nigerian Navy (NN).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the event titled ‘Hydrographic Information-Enhancing Safety, Efficiency and Sustainability in Marine Activities’.

The minister commended the Nigerian Navy for her instrumental role in laying the foundation for Nigeria’s national hydrographic services capacity.

According to him, it is on record that for decades, the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic office has worked tirelessly to develop our hydrographic capability, ensuring the safety of navigation and contribution to the national security.

He said that the creation of the National Hydrographic Agency was to build upon that solid foundation and expand Nigeria’s capability to meet evolv
ing needs of the nation’s maritime sector.

‘Under the visionary leadership of President Bola Tinubu, we are committed to harnessing the full potential of our maritime resources and opportunities to take Nigeria out of the present economic doldrums to birth a diversified economy for sustainable growth and development,’ he said.

He emphasised the importance of hydrographic information for enhancing maritime safety by providing accurate and up to date information to vessels to navigate the nation’s waters safely.

He also said that it would help vessels avoid hazards and reduce the risks of accidents.

He added that this was particularly crucial in Nigeria where the nation’s ports where busy shipping lines and offshore oil and gas were vital to the economy.

According to him, by providing detailed hydrographic data, the national hydrographic agency will help ensure that our maritime activities are conducted safely and efficiently.

‘Moreover, the National Radiographic Agency will play a critical role in promot
ing environmental sustainability as we strive to balance economic growth and environmental protection.

‘Hydrographic information will guide our efforts to manage maritime resources sustainably, monitor coastal erosion and mitigate the impacts of climate change.’

Badaru said that the strategic significance of the National Hydrocarbon Agency extended beyond safety and sustainability.

According to him, the agency will enhance the efficiency of Nigerian maritime operations, which will lead to reduce operational costs, increase competitiveness and new economic opportunities.

He assured the agency that the Federal Government would continue to invest in the development of Nigeria’s national hydrographic capacity in areas such as the acquisition of state of the art survey technologies, building skilled workforce and fostering international partnerships.

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, said the navy had made several attempts at domestic charts for Nigerian waters.

Ogalla said that the
effort was in realisation of the fact that hydrography was actually a public good, just like construction of roads.

According to him, you really cannot quantify the impact it will have in terms of value and that is why enormous resources are required.

He added that the navy and other agencies in the maritime domain had made tremendous effort towards fulfilling their roles of providing the information required to produce nautical charts and other aids to navigation and safety of mariners.

‘We have charts covering Nigerian waters and most of these charts were based on information obtained by the British when they were here along the line.

‘We have had several other improvements on those charts, particularly in the past 10 to 15 years.

‘But we still noticed serious gaps when it comes to surveying in our waters and that gap is not only in Nigerian waters, it’s the whole of Africa, particularly West Africa’, he said.

The CNS explained that the Africa integrated multi strategy recognised that the eradication
of poverty in Africa depended on the ability of African nations to exploit the resources in the marine environment.

According to him, it is projected that the marine environment (the blue economy), is the vital ways we can propel ourselves out of poverty.

‘we are gradually moving towards having all our charts produced in Nigeria, not only charts, but caribbean graphic information generally.

‘And these include notices to mariners and all other aspects of arbitrary things that are required to improve safety on our waters’.

The Hydrographer of the Federation, Rear Adm. Ayodeji Olugbode, said Nigeria’s advancement in hydrography has laid a solid foundation for the nation’s progress.

Olugbode said that the Federal Government’s investment had bolstered navy’s capacity as a nation to conduct comprehensive surveys of the nation’s territorial waters up to the extremities of its exclusive economic zone.

These vessels, according to him, are not just assets; they are symbols of sovereignty and our unwavering commit
ment to maritime safety and operational excellence.

‘What we have achieved this year will include the launching of a revised national charting scheme, the maiden edition of our catalogue of Nigerian charts, and a chart of the approaches to Lagos harbor.

‘All of these were achieved within the first half of this year, even though some of these works commenced even before I came into office.

‘The conduct of surveys in Nigeria speaks volumes of a long standing commitment in the field of hydrography, but our progress does not end here.

‘Looking ahead, capacity building remains a top priority and we are committed to equipping our hydrographers with the best training and resources, ensuring that they are well prepared to meet challenges of the future,’ Olugbode said.

According to him, technologies and innovative methodologies will continue to drive efforts to produce high quality hydrographic data that is crucial to maritime success.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria