By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in collaboration with the Kingdom of Denmark on Monday embarked on a 5-days training programme for maritime journalists on adequate reportage of activities in the Gulf of Guinea.
The training programme which is resident, is facilitated by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) with the theme; Gulf of Guinea Maritime Security Reporting.
Participants at the training were drawn across variois media organisations in Nigeria spanning defense journalists and maritime journalists.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the course, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh noted that Nigeria has recorded great successes in maritime security, and there is need for the media to project this to the rest of the world.
“The narrative of maritime insecurity in Nigeria is no longer in place. It is the media that will ensure that the negative report that we are receiving in the social media are corrected, and ensure tha the correct searches are normalized.
“It is the media that will now educate each and every investor on where to invest and how safe the investment will be.
“It is the media that will tell and educate the judges on the maritime development and progresses that we are having so that we can have a very good judicial system that the international community will have hope in this country and invest their own resources.
“Times without number, we do believe that the issue of social media puts us together and connects us together. In time without number, it also disconnects us.
When you decide to send a negative report out there, you are disconnecting.
“You are disconnecting between individual to individual, his ability, his integrity, his right
to good public perception is being tampered with. The country itself, when that negative report goes out, its own perception is being changed.
“So it is people like you who will change the science, who will change the mindset, who will educate the people on the true narrative of things. So in so doing, that is why the Koffi Annan Centre and Denmark decided to see the forum like this, sit together and discuss in terms of training, how we can go about it, strengthen our own blue economy, our own marine sector, our own fisheries sector, our own ship building and ship repair sector, and sea fairness development” he said
Also speaking, the Director, Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research, KAIPTC, Prof. Kwesi Aning noted that reporters have not been well sensitized on the technicalities of the security in the Gulf of Guinea.
According to him, there is need for the maritime journalists to project the success stories that Nigeria and NIMASA is making, adding that these successes are under-reported
He observed that there has been an increase in insurance premiums on ships, leading to increase on cost of trading as a result of wrong impressions created through wrong reportage of security in the region.
Prof Aning further stated that the training course on Maritime Security Reporting is the third of the series of courses on Maritime Security Reporting in the Gulf of Guinea.
His words: “The first and second courses were successfully piloted in Takoradi (for Ghanaian nationals only) and then at the KAIPTC (for a multinational audience) in May and October of this year. This course also forms part of the capacity-building outputs of the ‘Integrated Responses to Threats to Maritime Safety and Security in the GoG Domain’ a five-year project generously supported by the Government of Denmark.”
Aning stressed that the goal of the project is to establish collaborative platform among stakeholders in the Gulf of Guinea maritime sector, enhance comprehension of the dynamic maritime security landscape, promote better coordination and cooperation, and leverage both individual and collective efforts to improve maritime security in the GoG.