FOC Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Hassan calls for possession of oil rich Tongeji Island, Ipokia by Marine and Blue Economy Ministry
By Adetokunbo FAKEYE
Nigeria - The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan on Wednesday, 15th November, 2023, urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA to bring to the notice of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy the need for Nigeria to take possession of the oil rich Tongeji Island, between Nigeria and Benin Republic in Ipokia local government area of Ogun State for maritime tourism.
The FOC Western Naval Command, stated this during his courtesy visit to the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, in Lagos, with the Commander Deep Blue, Commodore OA Akinbami.
Rear Admiral Hassan noted that the Deep Blue assets are fully functional and requested for further deepening of information sharing between the Western Naval Command and the NIMASA C4i center.
Responding, Dr. Jamoh described the oil rich island as a low hanging fruit for the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, with an assurance that the Agency will relate with the supervising Ministry for further actions, particularly as regards maritime tourism.
According to NIMASA DG, collaboration with the Nigerian Navy has played a key role in the achievements of his Administration in terms of maritime security in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
He noted that the Nigerian model is now being adopted in other countries, adding that the change in narratives about security in Nigerian waters from the era of over 26 Piracy incidents and negative media exposure, to no single piracy incident in Nigerian waters for almost two years now, is a direct product of effective collaboration of the Maritime Administration with the Nigerian Navy, a relationship he hopes to deepen.
"Collaboration with the Nigerian Navy is largely responsible for the confidence of stakeholders in the current Management of the Agency. I was in Brazil last week, the South Americans and even our neighbors like Ghana are eager to learn how we arrived at this MARAD-NAVY collaboration yielding successes. Just imagine that the negative media exposure in 2019-2020 about prevalent piracy and criminal activities in Nigerian waters had continued, you can only imagine where Nigeria would have been by now. I am glad we sought and got collaboration with the Navy", he said.
Jamoh noted that the agency is eager to put up policy to ensure Nigerians enjoy benefits accruable from the Blue Economy. "The time has come for us to implement our Crude to Blue campaign conceived since 2021. Maritime stakeholders in Nigeria should be ready to repay President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR for creating the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry. If we must make headway in tourism and fishing, security is a priority. We will make a case for the designation of Marine Protected Areas particularly for fishing and the Nigerian Navy definitely will play a major role", he stated.
The constitution of an eight-man committee, comprising four each from the Navy and NIMASA was also announced to serve as catalyst for shift from Crude to Blue, now that Nigeria has a Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
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