Top 10 Legacy Drivers of the Buhari Era (2015- 2023)-Bashir Jamoh

Dr. Bashir Jamoh, director general and chief executive officer, the Nigerian Maritime

Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), was called on for duty by the Buhari-led

government in March 2020. The seasoned administrator and maritime expert has however

magnified the three years he has been in charge at the agency to apparently cover gaps and

redeem the years of his absence.

Jamoh has within the short period of his leadership of the maritime agency created so much

awareness by words and actions of the role and capabilities of the agency that he has been

rightly counted among the key legacy drivers of the Buhari’s legacy.

His approach to duty gives an overall impression of a man who knew ahead of time what he

was to do at the duty post and has gone ahead swiftly to get it done once the opportunity

called on him. He took over the leadership at NIMASA at a time that the challenge of insecurity

in the Nigerian waters and in the Gulf of Guinea headed to the climax.

The DG quickly launched a broad solution strategy built on a tripod of maritime security,

maritime safety and shipping development. The security and safety measures formed the

stepping stones to where he has planned to go – which is leading the nation to the biggest

discovery of wealth in the waters.

In two years, he has succeeded in calming the waters – that is putting the security and safety

challenges clearly behind the nation. Piracy cases in Nigerian waters have dropped from 35 in

2020 to 6 in 2021 and one in 2022. Kidnapping and piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea have

also experienced a similar sharp drop over the same period under a sustainable architecture for

improved maritime safety and security enforcement that is now in place.

The milestones achieved in security and safety of the waterways have rebuilt confidence within

the maritime trade community, according to Jamoh. The welcome development has ensured

seamless movement of vessels from international waters through the Gulf of Guinea and

Nigeria, he said.

This is to the extent that international maritime bodies such as International Maritime

Organisation and International Maritime Bureau have attested to Nigeria’s success in the fight

against piracy and other maritime crimes.

The gains in maritime security and safety have provided Jamoh the launching pad into the

deeper waters of the economics of maritime domain awareness with which he is ushering the

nation into the vast blue economy project of his regime.

‘The effort to secure our waters has given Nigerians more leverage to harness the enormous

resources of our maritime environment and aid the drive towards economic diversification”, he


The blue economy project is ranked the first integrated maritime security strategy in West and

Central Africa to which the President committed $195 million, according to the DG. It is

supported by a model law, the first in West Africa – Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime

Offences Act, which provides legal backing for prosecution of offenders.

The initiatives have enabled rapid response to piracy, kidnapping, oil theft, smuggling,

trafficking of persons and drugs and other crimes within Nigeria’s territorial waters and

Exclusive Economic Zone.

With the blue economy project, Jamoh is singing the same chorus of economic diversification

that constitutes Buhari’s strategy to explore new channels of resource inflow for enhanced

economic development. According to him, “today, the waters provide low hanging fruits to

diversify the economy”.

He is therefore opening up the water economy for people to launch out in a new and virtually

unlimited direction apart from oils and gas to explore what is deep there in the waters. The

move, he said, is inevitable in view of proven limitations of the oil industry in due to growing

global shift towards environmentally sustainable sources of energy.

He is leading the nation to a discovery of new jobs and careers, the emergence and growth of

coastal communities, optimization of transportation of people and goods, reduction of poverty,

renewal and sustenance of the environment – all geared towards maximizing the comparative

ocean advantages of the nation.

The vast water resources of the nation on which the blue economy project is to pivot include

853 kilometres of coastline, 8,573 kilometres of inland waterways and 28 out of the 36 states of

the federation are accessible by water and linked to five neighbouring countries’ 10,000

kilometres of navigable waterways. The nation also has 200nm of Exclusive Economic Zone,

12nm of territorial waters, six seaport complexes, 21 oil terminals and more than 10 jetties.

Besides, it has the consumer power advantage with a population in excess of 200 million.

The NIMASA boss is applying a broad based approach that cuts across states and government

ministries and agencies to extend the opportunities to harness the untapped marine potentials

of the nation to all its citizens. The blue economy drive therefore extends beyond the littoral

states where large bodies of water with jetties exist to create equally abundant opportunities in

areas that are far from the waters.

According to him, it includes development of dry ports such as the facilities in Kaduna and Kano

where cargo can be trans-shipped from seaports to the dry ports. The dry ports, he said, are

equipped to process export trade consignments and move them to the seaports.

In leading the way to opening up the water economy for a wide participation towards achieving

economic diversification, Jamoh has identified the key segments of the blue economy ready for

attracting new investments for exploitation. These include maritime transportation, fisheries

aquaculture, renewable energy and tourism.

Investment opportunities also abound in waste management, port development and logistics,

shipping, dockyards and marine tourism. Others are dredging, offshore oil and gas exploration

and production, renewable energy and maritime fabrication and construction.

He has identified fisheries as one of the key segments of great importance to Nigeria in terms of

meeting the needs of livelihood, employment, food security and generation of foreign

exchange. Other opportunities from the blue economy drive of the agency unveiled include

tourism, cargo operations, stevedoring services, warehousing/bonded term haulage,

shipbuilding and repairs.

Included also are ship/cargo surveying, ship management, tank farm, packaging, logistics and

bunkering services. Others are ship chandelling, short-sea services, ship brokerage and ship

agency, ship financing, personnel training, insurance, legal and IT services.