The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari appoints an adviser on maritime issues, in order to better appreciate the industry and attend to its demands with immediacy.
President of the NAMM, Capt. Tajudeen Alao, made the call last week on the occasion of presentation of certificate of recognition to some members, while reviewing the association’s efforts at sanitising the maritime sub-sector, to ensure professionalism.
Alao stated that the appointee who should be a maritime expert would best advise the President on industry matters from time to time.
The NAMM President said: “With maritime as the backbone of the nation’s economy, it is important that the President gets an adviser. We all know the importance of an adviser. And for a professional who understands the industry deeply, the adviser can look at the President in the eyes and tell him the truth.
“As problematic as the Apapa gridlock is, some would come here and say they can’t see it, but an adviser would see it as it is. Even if the roads are fixed, what about the tank farms? For that, heavy traffic will continue to come into the port city,” Capt. Alao said.
Presenting Capt. Ibikunle Olayiwola with his certificate of membership, the NAMM’s president expressed the association’s resolve to collaborate with industry regulatory agencies and other stakeholders for the advancement of the sub-sector.
He noted that as had been instituted for the purpose of professionalism, no master mariner should be recognised to practice without a recognition through the membership certificate from the mariners “Clearance House” with the NAMM.
He added that on the part of government, “We want to see more deliberate actions on the part of the government in that regard to ensure lasting solutions; where they can be moving goods by badges out of Apapa, also using pipelines to move liquid cargo, so that the traffic into Apapa will be reduced.”
For Capt. Olayiwola, receiving his certificate of membership and identity card meant a recognised step in professionalism, which he was grateful for.
Speaking on mentorship for the younger generation, Olayiwola frowned at the quality of training for younger cadets in Nigeria.
He advised that the institutions of training should engage ex-seafarers who are theoretically vast and with practical experience that they could share, and added that the country should train only the number of cadets that can be accommodated on-board vessels for practical experience.
He said: “You must have cadets relative to the ships available in your country or within West Africa. You cannot train thousands of cadets without available ships to put them, and not also beyond your maritime economy.”