Senator Gbemisola Saraki at the World Hydrography Day Celebration 2022 in Lagos State
To mark the World Hydrography Day Celebration 2022 in Nigeria, the Minister of Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, has applauded the efforts of the Nigerian Navy to secure the Gulf of Guinea and Nigeria’s coastline for 28 years.
Gbemisola on Tuesday at the Admiralty Conference Centre, Naval Dockyard Limited Victoria Island, Lagos, said it is in five months in 28 years the country would mark zero attack within the coastal region.
In pursuit of this year’s hydrography day themed “Hydrography: Contributing to the United Nations Ocean Decade”, The Guardian reports have shown how the Nigerian Navy, during its survey exercise within Lagos waters intercepted a gang of drug traffickers with 250 bags of cannibis worth over N200m in June.
Gbemisola said: “today marks five months of zero attack. This is the first time in 28 years that there has been no attack. This is a feat being duly recognized by the International Maritime Bureau. I therefore congratulate the Federal Government, The Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Navy and of course, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on this remarkable achievement. I hope that the collaboration between that made this possible will continue.”
She added that this year’s celebration of Hydrography Day is much about the work and responsibilities of the Nigerian Navy surveying and charting of the geographical landscape of the waters. She also called on the need for more inclusion of women in the on going survey of Lagos approaches.
The minister said: “Every day is Hydrography Day to a Naval Officer or a Cadet. Like other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, hydrography has traditionally seen low rates of female participation. Yes, I am going there. It is my hope that in your pursuit of excellence, you will begin to promote and include women in hydrography daily as well. And of course, this will be a good project for the Hydrographer of the Navy, Rear Admiral Emeka Okafor, to champion.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, noted that the Navy in two years has produced nine more navigational paper charts, five cells of Electronic Navigational Charts while its hydrographic Office has commenced production of nautical publications.
Gambo stressed that the recent commencement of the first indigenous systematic survey of Nigeria’s coastal and offshore waters by the Navy would be sustained and has marked the beginning of systematic study of Nigeria’s waters and the offshore waters campaign.
He said: “accordingly, two publications, namely “Symbols and Abbreviations used on Nigeria’s Paper Charts” and “Rules of the Road” was unveiled. Additionally, NNS LANA unveiled its maiden magazine; “the Gondola”, which chronicled activities from construction till date. These huge hydrographic capacity development efforts are coming at a time the world is focused on use of ocean sciences to achieve sustainable development.
“I consider the theme for 2022 World Hydrographic Day; which is “Hydrography: Contributing to the United Nations Ocean Decade” quite apt. This is due to the indispensability of hydrographic data in ocean scientific researches. Accordingly, we must appreciate our collective efforts towards the development of hydrography in Nigeria.”
The Hydrographer of the Navy, Rear Admiral Emeka Okafor, noted that the Nigeria has never witnessed this type of development of hydrographic strength and capacity it currently has the country has joined list of the chart producing nations after several decades.
“My optimism is predicated on the fact that Nigeria has never witnessed the type of development in Hydrographic strength it currently has. Nigeria today is among the chart producing nations in the world capable of producing not just nautical charts but also specialised hydrographic products like environmental sensitivity index charts and several nautical products which would guide policy makers and Maritime security agencies and mariners alike while engaging in their activities within the Maritime sector”
While appreciating the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari in realising the feats, he revealed that currently, Nigeria has been able to generate and disseminate Maritime safety information to all users.