The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has commended the leadership role of Nigeria in the African Maritime Journalists’ Association.
Peterside made the remarks while receiving the President of AMJA, Sesan Onileimo, and some members of the association in his office on Wednesday.
He said Onileimo had showcased to the world that “Nigeria is not only endowed with natural resources but with talents”.
He added: “Each time we play a leadership role, is an added advantage, which nobody can ignore.
“It is acknowledged continent-wide that the media in Nigeria is vibrant and have become role models for other countries in Africa.
“Nobody can deny the fact that the Nigerian media is very active and substantially represented the feelings of our people.
“I truly appreciate you. Always be conscious of the fact that you are not just president of the association but an ambassador of Nigeria.”
Peterside said that the leadership of the association could count on the support of NIMASA.
He also commented: “You are not just representing yourselves, you are representing the country.”
The director-general said the aspiration of the management of the agency in the medium-term was to be a global voice on maritime issues.
Peterside also said: “We are regaining ourselves and doing massive reform, restructuring, repositioning of the agency to facilitate maritime trade in the sub-region and optimize the potential of the industry.
“We are automating our register of ships. We are looking at how we perform our port and flag state control functions.
“We intend to improve our reputation and enhance our efficiency in compliance with all International Maritime Organisation instruments.
“We just need to follow the due process and we have now become a stickler for due process.”
In his response, Onileimo said AMJA was formed in January 2016 in Accra, Ghana by a cross section of about 70 journalists across Africa.
He said the presidency of the association was zoned to West Africa and he was elected the president because Nigeria had a vibrant media industry.
Onileimo said the inauguration of the executives of the body would come up October 10 and 11, 2016 in Lagos.
The four member-executive are: President – Sesan Onileimo (Nigeria); Vice President – Terry Hutson (South Africa); General Secretary – George Sunguh (Kenya); and the Treasurer – Grace Boateng (Ghana).
Onileimo said there would be a capacity building programme on the second day of the event.
He said that heads of maritime parastatals and the minister of transportation would be invited to the occasion.
Onileimo said: “Nigeria will benefit immensely by hosting the secretariat of AMJA.
“We solicit your assistance to make the inauguration a success.”
Onileimo commended the director-general of NIMASA for turning the agency from its former state of abandonment to an agency that “understands its mandate”.
He said Peterside had given hope to those in the maritime industry.
Onileimo said that the NIMASA boss had also turned around the National Seafarers Development programme.
He also said: “If it can continue this way, we can look at expansion of fleet. We had a ship registry which was barely zero. We had a Ship Acquisition and Ship Building Fund that was turned into a largesse.
“With your appointment, we are sure that NIMASA is in safe hands and the flag will fly high.”