By G9ija

Lagos State governor,  Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu yesterday sought the use of the nation’s waterways for the movement of goods and services. He also said support should be extended to the maritime industry contribute its quota to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development by 2030.

Represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat at the celebration of World Maritime Day in Lagos, the governor said there was need to pay attention to making the nation’s shipping process more environment-friendly.

He said: “As a major player in the Maritime industry at continental and global levels, there is need for us to join the train by facilitating the process of actualising the vision of sustainable shipping in our maritime industry.

“At the national level, we need to optimise the potential of the maritime industry by utilising our waterways to transport goods and services from one destination to another locally. In respect to this, I must commend the Federal Government for the plan to begin transportation of containers from Lagos to Onitsha through barges and subsequently to other parts of the country. This plan, when developed and implemented, will no doubt reduce the congestion and accidents on our roads and also increase the maritime industry’s contribution to the nation’s GDP.

“In Lagos State, our administration is working tirelessly and creatively to maximise the potentials of our water bodies by investing in water transportation infrastructure under our intermodal transportation system. As we celebrate this year’s world maritime day, I pledge our administration’s commitment to continue to support and partner with relevant government agencies and institutions to ensure sustainable shipping business and also maximise the potentials in the sector for the benefit of our economy and all the stakeholders in the industry.”

The theme of the event is “Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet: The Nigeria Dimension. It was organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and other agencies under the ministry.

Every year the International Maritime Organization (IMO) celebrates World Maritime Day.

The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Magdalene Ajani said the day is used to focus attention on the importance of shipping, safety, mantime security and protection of Marine environment as well as to emphasis on a particular aspect of the work of the IMO.

“The theme for this year’s event provides us an opportunity to raise awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and showcase the work that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and its Member States are undertaking to achieve the targets.

“This year’s presentations address the SDGs relevant to the maritime sector and I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that these experts will do justice to the topics. 1am pleased to inform our participants today that challenges and opportunities in education, Safety, environment, maritime resources, Infrastructure, employment and sustainable development would be discussed and solutions proffered. In order to make a highly qualitative and result oriented presentations, enormous care has been taken to select the various resource panelists who are experts In their respective fields,” Saraki said.

Also speaking, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire said the maritime sector, which is a huge and growing sector, should remain safe and secured and not be a threat to the Nigeria’s environment.

She added: “Thus, we must capitalise on our available local resources and invest in infrastructure and machinery that would be economically and physically resilient in line with the aspirations of Ash’s 7, 9, 13 and 14.”

“Indeed, Nigeria is blessed with natural resources in water and soil, which in nature, are free and abundant. We need to utilise our resources optimally to counter balance the effects of climate change by turning our problems into opportunities, as one natural innovation carries various benefits for all.”

She said it is pertinent to pay close attention to the nation’s untapped local potentials to solve and provide basic needs to all by turning waste to wealth for sustainable consumption and production, using the integrated and individual nature of the SDGs.

She added that with COVID-19 pandemic, blue economy sectors, such as travel, tourism, maritime transport, fisheries and seafood production, are heavily impacted. She stated it is estimated that blue economy accounts for about 3.5 to 7 per cent of global GDP..