The Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, has urged International Oil Companies (IOC) to desist from dumping solid waste into the nation's waterways, saying such actions could jeopardize the future of the maritime environment.
The Minister, in her welcome address, which she delivered at the 2020 World Maritime Day Celebration held in Lagos last Thursday also urged the public to imbide habit that is friendly to the oceans and seas.
Saraki, who was represented by Dr Magdalene Ajani, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, said to prevent such, it was imperative for the country to adopt an internationally acceptable standard.
She said it was important for the government and private sector to work together to make the sector to function productively.
Chairperson, House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Lynda Ikpeazu, said the House of Representatives would give the required legislative framework and measures to ensure a sustainable maritime sector.
She noted that the theme, 'Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet: The Nigerian Dimension', cannot be more apt in this period as the world experiences the negative effects of climate change.
According to her, it is our duty as a member state of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to imminently put things in place to ensure the sustainability of, not just our sector, but the planet and mankind in general.
Also speaking at the event, the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, called for the use of water transportation in a more environmentally friendly manner.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said that there was a need to optimise the potential of the maritime industry by utilising the local waterways to transport goods and services from one destination to another.
"There is a need to support the maritime industry and contribute its quota to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development of 2030.
"The standard of living, jobs and livelihood of billions of people around the world is largely dependent on shipping and so the need to properly utilise it.
"In Lagos, our administration is working tirelessly and creatively to maximize the potentials of our water bodies by investing in the water transportation system," he said
He commended the Federal Government for its plan to begin transportation of containers from Lagos to Onitsha through barges and subsequently to other parts of the country.
He noted that the plan, when developed and implemented, would no doubt reduce the congestion and accidents on the road and also increase the maritime industry's contribution to the nation's GDP.s
Mrs Margret Orakwusi, Chairperson, Shipowners Forum, said that people conducting their activities responsibly for life under the water would ensure that the benefits there were achieved.
Mr Sam Nwakohu, Registrar, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), said that freight forwarding industry was at the centre of the end-to-end maritime supply chain.
He added that the council was aligning freight forwarding operations to environmental fitness with a view to reducing maritime freight carbon footprints, hence the introduction of the new project on digital haulage system.
He noted that the system, an Uber-like freight haulage system, was to ensure safe, secure, efficient and environmentally friendly freight logistics along the entire maritime supply chain.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, said that the agency was committed to getting Nigeria waters free from all maritime crimes and called for support and collaboration from security agencies to tackle the problem of insecurity.
"Our aim is to get the Nigerian waters free from any crime and we are working hard to achieve that, the security agencies are giving us the maximum cooperation because we cannot do it alone.
"We are also appealing to the stakeholders to give us a helping hand by reporting all the incidents so that together we can succeed in this.
"The issue of piracy and sea robbery on our sea is a global issue and we have received 85 per cent of the assets and provided platforms to arrest this situation also known as the blue project," he said