By Dipo Olowookere
Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dakuku Peterside, has highlighted the importance of maximizing the benefits of Nigeria’s vast coastline to facilitate trade in the West African sub region.
Dr Peterside made this known when the members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee of the Nigeria/Niger Joint Commission for Co-operation and Transportation led by the Chairman Mr Peter Utsu paid a courtesy visit to the Agency’s Headquarters in Lagos.
The DG who stated that Nigeria has a coastline of 853km and about 200 nautical miles of Exclusive Economic Zone also emphasised the need for Nigeria to cooperate with other countries including its landlocked neighbours like Niger Republic with the objective of facilitating trade.
According to him, “To maximize the benefits of our coastline is to use it to facilitate trade between and among our landlocked neighbours and this can only be done by co-operating with our neighbours. This cooperation is in our own interest politically, socially and economically”.
Dr Peterside also said that “although NIMASA is set up as a regulatory agency, we see ourselves as facilitators of trade using the maritime sector as the common denominator”.
Earlier in his address the Chairman of the committee, Mr Utsu noted the benefits of cooperation with Niger Republic stating that Nigeria has been able to combat crime especially terrorism by co-operating with this landlocked country.
He said that collaboration by the two West African countries especially in the areas of transportation would be of benefit to both countries as it would facilitate trade, create job opportunities as well as foster good bilateral relationships.