The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has made a passionate appeal, urging the media community in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to press for and lead in the return to water-based economy as future of fossil fuel becomes more bleak every day.
Ubong Essien, the special assistant on media and strategy to the director-general (DG) of NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, warns that oil/gas is increasingly becoming non-sustainable.
Essien, who made the appeal in Port Harcourt at the weekend while speaking on strategic reporting on the maritime sector at the 2021 Dinner Night of the Correspondents Chapel of the Rivers State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said instead, “water is everywhere waiting for exploitation.”
Saying NIMASA was keen on creating and energising the eight states along the coastal line into a Littoral States economic belt, Essien insisted that journalists were the best group to educate the populace on the need to embrace the Blue Economy. He said this was the critical message to journalists covering the Littoral States.
There are eight such states regarded as windows of Littoral states, he noted.
NIMASA is said to want the eight states to come together to become a maritime power. “Only the Press can press for the people surrounded by water but do not appreciate the volume of opportunities this offers.
“Most Nigerians are sea-blind. This implies a people surrounded by waters but not appreciative of the volume of opportunities beckoning on them for exploitation.”
Saying people of the state should take keen interest in the waters, seas, and the fact that Rivers State is a key maritime location, Essien urged media men to show more interest in this aspect of reporting. “Study what it takes to be close to the ocean; know more about shipping, fishing, water tourism, etc.”
He also charged media men to rethink their understanding of everything and note that the waters that have been with them from origin will replace oil and gas along land.
“Even land-locked areas are joining maritime organisations. This means there is something they have seen. The environment surrounding land is water; what is surrounding you is water. Take a second look and think.
“Consider all the possibilities in water economy. Newsmen in Littoral States must be interested and immediate stakeholders. NIMASA promotes sea-going activities. We need the media to help drive this.”
In his dinner remarks, Paulinus Nsirim, Rivers State commissioner of information and communications, said the state government had built up huge infrastructural base to carry a new economy.
He urged the media to help Governor Nyesom Wike communicate his vision and to finish strong.
The chairman of the Correspondents Chapel, Amaechi Okonkwo, commended NIMASA and the commissioner of information as well as some other partners for making the week a reality, saying the period was important to make Correspondents to review their work.