By Prisca Sam-Duru
Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets: Past, Present & Future is a book written by Jamoh Bashir Yusuf (Ph.D) of the Centre For Logistics and Transport Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Graduate Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The book which is scheduled for launch on August 28, 2018 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, is a timely material that offers readers an insight into challenges undermining the Maritime sector, how it affects the country’s economy and most importantly, how to tackle the challenges.
The relevance of Yusuf’s latest literary exercise cannot be overemphasized especially as it comes at a time of economic recession when there’s need to sustain relative peace in maritime security.
Chapter one of the book, with an introduction, clearly focuses on maritime transportation. This section attempts to draw a distinction between maritime transportation and other modes of transportation. It further outlines the advantages of maritime transportation which include the fact that it is the cheapest form, it has the ability to carry far greater load in addition to providing a ready-made route for ships which require no maintenance.
The author further highlights the place of the Maritime industry in a country such as Nigeria that virtually depends on importation for survival.
In as much as this section spends more time on the merits of the industry, it also brings to the fore, some of the downsides, especially insecurity which affects the economy negatively. Piracy and armed robbery attacks are noted as major security challenges which, according to the author, are not limited to Nigeria but also affect all other countries in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG).
The author does not stop at examining the determinants of global and local threats, different types and nature of insecurity in the industry but more importantly, documents useful recommendations for the improvement of the security situation.
Another important issue negatively affecting the development of the sector is illegal bunkering. The issue is thoroughly dealt with in the book.
The author notes that the country loses billions of naira annually to the trend and posits that as long as “illegal bunkering thrives, legal bunkering can’t compete” since “illegal bunkers would offer cheaper prices that keep legal bunkering out of business. He calls on the government to completely eliminate illegal bunkering so as to reap the full benefits from bunkering.
Historical facts on the era of modern ports in Nigeria between 1950 and 1970 with incorporation of Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, development of Railway System as well as the effects of the civil war on the ports, are also presented in the book.
Interestingly, the author harps on the importance of maritime development bank and states emphatically that such banks solely owned by the public sector, may not meet the needs of stakeholders due largely to “political influence and undue government control. He proposes a private-sector driven bank in that regard.
With the inclusion of references to other authorities on maritime issues, tables and figures to buttress facts as well as case studies of other countries, Yusuf’s Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets, is presented as an authentic reference material that will go a long way in helping to harness the full potentials of the maritime sector.
Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets is a work of great insight and moral courage. The author, Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, combines brilliance with the authority of an insider to tell a true, powerful, revealing, provocative and disturbing story of Nigeria’s wasting maritime assets. This book succeeds as a wakeup call to Nigerians and the Federal Government because the reader cannot but see the colossal waste and missed opportunities in the sector.
The book is therefore recommended to people in government, authorities in the maritime industry, students as well as those in the maritime business.