Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo, has commended the Nigerian Navy for surveying and charting the nation’s waters to promote security and economic activities.
Uzodinma said this at the World Hydrography Day with the theme, “Hydrography: Underpinning the Digital Twin of the Ocean” organised by the navy on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Navy also used the event to unveil seven new navigational charts for River Alape, from Ondo to Lagos sea.
The governor said that the opening of the waterways would deepen the development of the economies of littoral states, adding that water bodies have historically been central to human evolution and civilisation.
He added that waterways have been playing significant roles and making invaluable contributions to the economies of many nations.
The governor said the hydrography project by the navy would provide vivid pictures of the nature and condition of waters to enable effective management for navigation.
Uzodinma said some of the littoral states have been working with the navy to facilitate navigation revolution in their states.
He commended Ondo State Government for engaging the services of the Nigerian navy to survey, chart and open Alape River, from Ilaje to Apapa in Lagos, to boost economic activities including transportation, agriculture and tourism.
According to him, this is a laudable milestone that will forever remain indelible in the history of Ondo state and Nigeria.
“As I speak to you, a team of highly dedicated and professional naval personnel are in Imo conducting the bridge region solvent of the sea, assessing development routes of the state starting from Oguta Lake through Orasi River to the Atlantic Ocean.
“When this is completed, it will afford the navy the opportunity of deploying platforms to enhance vital security in the area and also facilitate and optimised evacuation of abundant gas reserves, thereby adding to the economic development of our dear state in particular and that of Nigeria in general.
“I must acknowledge that the Nigerian navy has made significant strides in enhancing maritime domain awareness through hydrographic surveys and charting activities.
“These efforts led to the production of up-to-date national nautical charts, enabling several navigations and reducing risk, first by ships and seafarers operating within Nigerian waters, to a dedicated hydrographic practice.
“Nigeria navy acquires series of data sets that are not only relevant to the charts production but are also used in a wide range of water engineering and socioeconomic applications.
“Including the creation of the digital twin of the ocean in today’s world, the actions of governments, coastal communities, multi resource exploration and exploitation companies, global warming and climate change,” he said.
The governor urged all stakeholders, federal and state governments to form necessary bonds to harness potentials for the development of the digital twin of the entire Nigerian maritime space.
He said it would help in supporting Nigeria’s sustainable development of the blue economy markets.
On his part, the Acting Governor of Ondo State, Chief Lucky Aiyedatiwa, said the event affirmed the commitment of the government to harnessing the potential of its waterways for the betterment of the nation.
Aiyedatiwa said that Nigeria has extensive network of rivers and water landscape that had long been recognised as essential content for trade, transportation and economic growth.
He said the nation could experience unprecedented economic growth by harnessing the power of its rivers for trade and commerce, which would lead to enhanced efficiency, reduced logistic cost and a more sustainable transport system.
This according to him, will serve as a catalyst for economic growth and job creation, which will eventually attract local and foreign investment, breathing new life into maritime sector.
He said that Ondo state, with its abundant natural resources, strategic location and business friendly environment, had been adjudged to be one of the safest and enticing destination for investment, import infrastructure, shipbuilding, maritime logistics and offshore exploration.
He thanked the Nigerian navy for its focus and determination in ensuring the completion of the chart project in spite of the economic challenges at the time.
According to him, the Alape Charts, meticulously crafted by the Nigerian navy, will serve as an invaluable resource for navigation along the river.
“This chart will provide essential information that will enhance safety, efficiency and accuracy in maritime activities.
“The commitment of the navy to the development of Alape river charts speaks volume about their dedication to service and unwavering support for the growth of our nation.
“Their resilience and determination, overcoming challenges and delivering of their promise, are truly commendable.
The Managing Director, NIWA, Mr George Moghalu, commended the navy for playing key role in the business of safety and security in the nation’s waterways.
Moghalu described navy’s effort as lofty, adding that the World Hydrography Day was marked to demonstrate love for the ocean and the blue economy of Nigeria, which NIWA was driving to achieve.
He commended the collaboration between the navy and state governments in the area of survey and production of navigational charts to make the waterways safer and attractive to local and foreign investors.
The managing director said that NIWA would continue to develop sustainable and efficient inland water transportation and boost economic activities in the country.