By Innocent Orok
Today 10th March 2021 marks a year since Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh tookover the mantle of leadership as the 6th Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA). Nigeria’s leading agency for regulations of maritime activities in the Country.
Though his appointment and subsequent taking – over was fast and full of gestapo political power play, maritime industry stakeholders were all in unison in accepting his appointment, even though the toga of ” Buhari and Fulani’s appointments” is rendering the air .
Jamoh taking – over from Dr Dakuku Peterside was a sigh of relief to both the NIMASA staff and stakeholders, who have been longing for a transfer of power as they were already tired of the rhetorics and deepened political permutations which had characterized the Dakuku Peterside’s regime since inception in 2015.
Dr Jamoh, though not a Seafarer, a Master Mariner nor a Ship Captain, but had assumed office as the first industry professional to head the agency since its establishment in 2007. He has spent more than a decade in the NIMASA raising through the ranks to the position of Executive Director, Finance and Administration, before his appointment as Director General. His appointment had also put to rest the political lobbying that was rendering the air when the four years of Dakuku Peterside as DG was ending, the rest now is history.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR: FACING CHALLENGES, FINDING SOLUTIONS:
Dr Bashir Jamoh on resumption of office on Tuesday March 10th, 2020 said “Today marks a turning point in the history and existence of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). It is my pleasure to welcome you all to NIMASA , as I take the mantle of leadership of this great and Strategic agency as its 6th Director General”.
Jamoh has also said his regime will anchor on three cardinal points of Maritime Security, Safety and Shipping development. He then hit the ground running.
COLLABORATION/ VISITS GALORE
Jamoh has open up a new vista of collaborations which culminated in several visits to both maritime agencies, security agencies, Oil and gas agencies and other critical sector collaborators to beef up the needed working relationship with these agencies. In the first one year in office, Jamoh has been known to be the highest NIMASA, DG to have visited over fifteen Government Agencies and Departments seeking collaborations to better the Nigerian maritime industry.
At the last count, Jamoh has visited, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Inspector General of Police, Comptroller General of Customs, Comptroller General of Immigration and Comptroller General of Civil Defence. Others are, GMD, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), MD, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), MD, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC), Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission( ICPC), DG, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), several State Governors, Emirs, Obas, top traditional rulers, Foreign Diplomatic Heads among others.
His visits among other things has however brokered the needed working relationship among these individuals and institutions as well as established the needed corporation and collaboration among these group to better the industry. Jamoh is also instrumental to the establishment of Maritime Agencies meeting group comprising of NIMASA, NPA, NSC, NIWA MAN, Oron and CRFFN. This for the first time has pitched all the Maritime agencies under the Federation Ministry of Transportation meeting regularly to tackle the challenges in the sub- sector.
Though, piracy and maritime crimes is still ravaging our waters , especially the Gulf of Guinea, but the Jamoh regime has been able to battle the menace headlong. Within his first 100 days in office and for the first time, 10 pirates were arrested by the Nigerian Navy in collaboration with the NIMASA and charged to court under the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences
(SPOMO) Act. The law has made Nigeria the first in West and Central Africa to have a distinct anti- piracy legislation.
AWAITING THE TAKE-OFF OF DEEP BLUE PROJECT
The Deep Blue Project which was initiated by the Dakuku Peterside’s regime has suffered several take- off dates. A whooping $175m Deep Blue Project was initiated in 2018 to enhanced Nigeria’s Deep Blue Economy prospects. A component of the project is to beef up the security architecture that will tackle piracy in Nigerian waters so that the country can fully harnessed the full potentials in our waters and make it safer for shipping and other maritime businesses.
The DEEP BLUE project team is still putting up its sophisticated air, land and sea equipment and platforms which was scheduled to be launch in March 2021, after two postponements last year. While some stakeholders regards the project as another white elephant project as NIMASA may not have the manpower and financial muscles to drive the project. Others believed, with Jamoh it can be done.
Suffice to say that Bashir Jamoh’s one year in office has been tasking as well as challenging due to the numerous administrative and regulatory lapses he met on ground at the agency. Can he make the difference?. One year gone, great expectations, fewer results. Can Jamoh change the narratives in the Nigerian maritime sector in the remaining three years?. While maritime stakeholders have unresolved confidence in Jamoh, the challenges are enormous, looking for solutions is sacrosanct, that is the only way to go in the remaining three years.
To our dear Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, I leave you with this words from Calvin Coolidge “Press on, nothing can take the place of persistence, Talent will not, nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not, unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not, the world is full of educated derelicts. Perseverance and Determination alone are omnipotent”. Bon Voyage, MV NIMASA, Safe Sail, Dr ” Captain” Bashir Jamoh and Crew.