Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says African countries must evolve strategies for the sustainable development of the continent’s blue economy through exploration and exploitation of seabed minerals.
Osinbajo said this while declaring open the 4th Africa’s Deep Seabed Resources (ADSR) sub-Regional workshop in Abuja on Wednesday.
The vice-president, who was represented by the Minister of state for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, said Nigeria was blessed with abundant deep seabed minerals ready for exploration.
He said while countries like Germany, India, China, United Kingdom and Jamaica had signed various contracts for the explorations of seabed minerals, no African country had made any move in this direction.
He, therefore, urged Nigeria to take the lead in Africa.
The 3-day workshop was organised by the International Seabed Authority, in collaboration with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).
Other partners are the African Union, Ministry of Transportation, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Navy, among others.
“The UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides for all nations to explore and exploit mineral resources on the seabed beyond national jurisdiction for the common benefit of mankind.
”This is in accordance with regulatory framework provided by ISA.
“There is the need for Nigeria and indeed Africa’s industry stakeholders, relevant organisations and private entities to synergise toward strengthening the engagement of African States in the activities undertaken in the international seabed area”, Osinbajo said.
Meanwhile, the minister has reaffirmed Federal Government’s commitment toward developing the nation’s premier maritime education and training centre, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom .
The minister disclosed this during his working visit to the Academy in company of the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, Mr Michael Lodge and the Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Dr Maureen Tamuno, among others.
Adegoroye described the learning environment as one of the best in the country, saying he was truly impressed with the learning facilities for practical training at the Academy.
He promised that the Federal Government would continue to support the institution to grow to enviable heights.
The secretary-general of the International Seabed Authority, while addressing the Cadets of the Academy, said the Authority was responsible for managing the exploration of all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area.
Lodge added that new job opportunities would be created in the future as mining vessels that would require new technologies would be stationed offshore.
Earlier, the Rector of the Academy,retired Commodore Duja Effedua, expressed appreciation to the Ministry of Transportation and NIMASA for their unwavering support toward the realisation of its aspirations.
The rector then pledged to continue to do his best to sustain the development of the institution.
“We are excited to have you in our school today.
” Now, Nigeria has a maritime academy that is respected internationally, and for that we are grateful to the ministry and the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency”, he said.(NAN)