Stories By Godwin Oritse
THE Minister of Niger Delta affairs, Hon. Godswill Akpabio, and Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemi Saraki, have jointly called on African countries to take advantage of the blue economy for sustainable development of their countries.
This is just as stakeholders in the maritime industry are rooting for Nigeria to take advantage and utilize all the potential resources of the oceans, seas, rivers and lakes for the socio economic emancipation of the Nigerian people.
Speaking at the third edition of the annual symposium of African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMESI) with the theme “African Blue Economy Which Way To Go?” in Lagos, Akpabio, noted that despite the potential benefits and opportunities associated with the aquatic resources, the resources of the oceans and inland waters are under serious threats due, largely to neglect as well as climate change and extreme weather situation.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Niger Delta Affairs, Dr. Babayo Ardo, noted the impact of pollution arising mainly from effects of over exploitation and exploration of the resources especially petroleum products as well as the issue of insecurity.
Akpabio explained that currently the blue economy initiative is in the front burner as a result of its huge gains in the area of job creation and socio economic development.
He stated that the ministry will initiate the move to drive the process and work towards the development of Bio Economy strategic framework for the Niger Delta Region.
While calling on Nigerians to take urgent advantage of the growing need to harness and utilize all the potential resources of the oceans, seas, rivers and lakes for the socio economic emancipation of the Nigerian people.
On her part, Minister of State for Transportation Senator Gbemisola Saraki, noted that the theme of the symposium: “African Blue World; Which Way To Go?” is apt and coming at the critical moment when the continent is at a crossroads on the urgent need to level-up at the international stage on best trends and practices to beneficially adopt the emerging and lucrative economy, while keeping her oceans, seas and the entire marine ecosystem safe, healthy and sustainable.
Saraki who was equally represented by Chief Ofie Adams, a Deputy Director at the Ministry of Transportation said the blue economy is relevant to all countries and can be applied on various scales from local, national to global levels.
In her opening remarks, President AFMESI, Dr Felicia Mogo, stated that the symposium provides platforms for re-evaluating the marine environment of Africa both in terms of potential and stressors, adding that AFMESI is trying to recommend best strategies to exploration for this resources for the benefit of mankind and preservation of the environment itself.
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