Director General, NIMASA, Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has once again held a sensitization programme for some communities located along the nation’s waterways on the need to collaborate with the agency in protecting the nation’s waterways from marine pollution and imbibe cleaner, peaceful and safe ecosystem.
Speaking at a one day workshop on community sensitization organized by a non-profit making organisation, the Center for Creative Arts Education (CREATE) in conjunction with NIMASA, in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, recently, the Director General, NIMASA, Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi identified solid waste dumping, municipal waste discharge especially from industrialized cities, agricultural toxic waste, oil spills and discharge into the ocean as some the sources of marine pollution in the country.
Akpobolokemi, who was represented at the workshop by Assistant Director, Marine Environmental Management Department, NIMASA, Dr. Mrs. Felicia Chinwe Mogo, while delivering a paper titled: Peace, Safety and Security in the context of Sustainable Environment also enumerated on some consequences of coastal pollution. According to him, these include decomposition of organic matter causing anoxic conditions, creation of micro climate and mutations, loss of biodiversity/depletion, damage of biodiversity, general loss of aesthetic, economic, cultural, social, political values of the ocean, water hyacinth invasion among others.
Akpobolokemi also commended the awareness programme, which was the grand finale of a one year sensitization tour round the various coastal communities in the country by the two organisations. He further called for collaborations among individuals, states and regions in the country in order to demonstrate the political will to move on in protecting the nation’s waterways. “Whether it is to organize clean-up campaigns, art exhibits, tree-planting drives, social media campaigns and different contests — every action counts. When multiplied by a global chorus, our individual voices and actions become exponential in their impact,” he said.
Speaking with journalists at the sideline of the programme, Mrs. Hilda Dokubo, the Chief Executive Officer, CREATE said the awareness programme as started making positive impact among the communities as a result of the knowledge and information that have been shared with the people on the issue of marine pollution.
She said, ”we have been able to successfully bridge the gap between the people and the agency. We have also succeeded in waking up that consciousness that whatever we do with the waters will come back to us because 90 percent of whatever we get in this country come from the waterways. ”The waterways are yours, don’t empty wrong things into it just because the name is water, such things might block the water. If you find unnecessary things going on in the water, make report. The environment is you.”
Also speaking at the workshop, the Area Manager of National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, Port Harcourt, Mr. Abdullahi Dabai, said that inland waterways, which covers up to 28 states of the federation and crises-crosses the entire nation, is the best way economic development of Nigeria can be sustained.
He therefore urged Nigerians to collaborate with the government on how to harness the potential in it and ensure peaceful, safe and secure environment