The Nigerian Navy says  it  has so far recorded 50 per cent success in the ongoing charting and survey of Rivers Niger and Benue by its hydrographic team.

The Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Chukwuemeka Okafor, made this known to newsmen at an event to signal the flag off of the 2022 World Hydrography Day in Nigeria at the Western Naval in Lagos. He revealed that the navigational route in Nigeria has remained moribund for over 6 decades and that the survey and charting project, when completed, will re-open the inland water navigational route.

Okafor added that the newly inducted 60-meters offshore survey vessel, NNS LANA, has commenced its first ever systematic survey of Nigeria’s coastal and offshore waters, which is expected to further improve the knowledge of the country’s ocean for better management and sustainable use.

Okafor said: “the tripartite collaboration between the Nigerian Navy, National Inland Waterways Authority and NEXIM Bank led to the ongoing historic survey and charting of Rivers Niger and Benue, which is about 50% completed. This survey and charting project, when completed, will re-open a very critical inland water navigation route in Nigeria, which has remained moribund for over 6 decades. It will further provide the Government with vital information that will provoke appropriate governance measures to ensure sustainable use of this part of Nigeria’s maritime space.”

Events earmarked for the 2022 World Hydrography Day celebration in Nigeria is scheduled to take place on 21 June 2022 at the Admiralty Conference Centre, Naval Dockyard Limited, Victoria Island Lagos.

Some activities scheduled for the event, include awareness lectures on hydrography to selected secondary schools in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Kano State aimed at arousing the interests of young minds in career choice hydrography, to provide quality hydrographic service delivery to Nigeria’s policy makers and mariners alike. This would be followed by a plenary session on June 21, for professionals and government officials to deliberate on how best to use the science of hydrography to improve the health of Nigeria’s ocean for sustainable development.

“Three papers will be presented by subject matter experts in line with the theme of the day. The event would also witness the unveiling of 2 nautical publications and a hydrographic magazine published by the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office and NNS LANA respectively, to further provide knowledge of our waters to the public. Stakeholders in hydrography, would also display their wares and interact with users for more patronage and improved service delivery during the WHD celebration,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy stressed that it has collaborated with the University of Lagos, in research and capacity building, to ensure that adequate skilled hydrographic manpower is available to provide the needed hydrographic services to the nation.

He said: “on the International scene, arrangement has reached advanced stage for the Nigerian Navy to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030, which seeks to complete the mapping of the world’s ocean by 2030.This effort would help to integrate information regarding Nigeria’s waters with that of other countries towards achieving effective global ocean governance that will ensure the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans.”

Okafor on behalf of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo however, invited all maritime stakeholders, the academia, hydrographic practitioners and policy makers to grace the event.

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