There is hardly a day that passes when I don’t peer through the window of my office on the 6th floor at NIMASA HQ overlooking the Apapa seaport and quay area, the very epitome, indeed flagship, of Nigeria’s maritime expanse. As busy as the scenery may look, very often my gazing experience leaves me wondering at our wasted opportunities in the very depths of endless maritime possibilities for a nation with a population hovering around 200 million inhabitants. The indictment remains that we have yet to rise to the occasion of making the most of our maritime assets.
Nothing makes this peering exercise of mine feel more like a daily affliction than the narrative of the massive warehouse directly opposite our office which was once renowned as a cocoa produce storage hub for export overseas, especially during the heydays of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).
To think that I was now beholding a car park extension for NIMASA staff as they daily arrived and departed work boggled my mind repeatedly, and even more bothersome was the fact that many more of such once illustrious facilities littering the entire Apapa vicinage now suffer the same fate. This is just one tiny aspect. There are many more aspects and dimensions to our maritime challenges and potentialities highlighted in this book.
Like it or not, maritime is Nigeria’s next economic frontier to which we are doomed by default (when the oil eventually dries), but it would be better for us if we chose rather by design to orient, policy-wise, towards our seas. Experts have held that all that the maritime sector requires is but a fraction of the aggressive policy attention paid to the agriculture sector by the current administration under President Muhammadu Buhari that has really galvanized the nation across board into food security awakening and diverse food production endeavours.
I hope the reader will find this book as my humble attempt to once again corral attention towards, and in the process add to, the conversation about how blessed we are to be a maritime nation and how
burdened we must now feel to, by way of responsibility, arise to this blessedness by rigorously committing to harnessing our maritime resources across all fronts – from platforms to policy; from legislation to landscape; from marine to manpower; from capacity to content; from education to environment and from sectors to stakeholders.
All hands must be on deck.
Bashir Yusuf Jamoh