Nigeria has reported five straight months of zero attack by pirates and sea robbers on the nation’s waterways.
Speaking recently during the 2022 World Hydrography Day celebration in Lagos, the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, explained that the nation was in a celebratory mood because it had been able to combat piracy and crimes at sea within the Gulf of Guinea and its territorial waters.
Saraki said that this was the first time in 28 years that there had been no attack on the nation’s territorial waters, noting that the feat was duly recognised by the International Maritime Bureau.
“Today makes it five months of zero attack on our waterways. This is the first time in 28 years that there has been no attack. This is a feat duly recognised by the IMB. I therefore congratulate the Federal Government, the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.”
She noted that a nation like Nigeria with 853 kilometers of coastline, hydrography was both an economic and national security issue.
Saraki, however, stressed the need for more women to be promoted in hydrography.
“Like other science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, hydrography has traditionally seen low rates of female participation. It is my hope that in your pursuit of excellence, you will begin to promote and include women in hydrography daily as well.”
According to her, “It is this knowledge that enables us to better manage our ocean’s assets and deliver economic and environment solutions to the maritime public and stakeholders across Nigeria.”
The minister also disclosed that the that the Federal Government had placed an order with Messrs OCEA of France for the delivery of a 35-meter hydrographic research vessel, which would work side by side NNS LANA to further boost the nation’s hydrographic research capacity.
“In addition, the Federal Government established a committee on Blue Economy chaired by the Vice President, for the procurement of modern survey equipment and increased tempo of human capacity development to improve Nigeria’s capacity for hydrographic survey and charts,” she said.
Earlier, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, had explained that the importance of hydrography to the maritime industry would not be too stressed, noting that platforms like these could raise public awareness about hydrography’s global benefits to navigational safety, ocean conservation and environmental preservation.