The Shipowners Forum Chairman, Barr. (Mrs) Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi shortly after receiving an award at the Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS) in Lagos on Wednesday.
The Chairman, Shipowners Forum, Barr. (Mrs) Margaret Orakwusi has lamented the invasion of Nigerian waters by foreign fishing trawlers, especially those owned by the Chinese.
Orakwusi who is also a former President of the Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NITOA), made the remark Wednesday at the just concluded Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS) in Lagos revealing that Chinese fishermen have been noted for encroaching in the coastal waters of other countries without restraints.
And speaking while chairing a session of the summit titled “Maritime domain awareness in Nigerian waters and impact on national development”, as well made case for the creation of a Ministry of Fisheries which should be manned by a professional in the industry.
“Europe, America and even some African countries like Ghana have fishery ministries because they identified the economic values associated with the venture. Hence, they appoint someone who is fully in charge of their waters to regulate fishery activities. So also why can’t Nigeria have a ministry that regulates and develops this important sector? There is a need for this,” she said.
Also speaking, former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Dele Ezeoba (retd.), said Nigeria is suffering from the neglect of its maritime resources and potentials.
“Despite all these maritime facilities like the Regional Maritime Awareness Center (RMAC) and the Deep Blue project, how much success have we achieved to have a robust and sustained security on our waters?
“One of the challenges to our maritime domain awareness is that we lack the political will to have a strong maritime policy that would position the sector in the forefront when policies are to be made in the country,” he said.
The Deputy Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Atakpa Sunday Daniel, advised the Federal Government to stop spending money on the same project through various government agencies in the name of fighting insecurity.
He said, “For instance, why would Nigerian Navy procure Falcon Eye project and the recently commissioned Deep Blue project have with it C3i that carries out the same function of monitoring aircraft, vessels and offshore infrastructure?
According to him, “Things like these amount to wastage. Government should merge departments that carry out the same role or one be scrapped completely.
“Maritime security is capital intensive. Hence, financial resources should be fine-tuned to one department in charge of security wing in the industry”, he said.