The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that the Arab Academy in Egypt discriminated against its female cadets under the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) and was not ready to admit them at the academy for seagoing ventures.
The academy was only ready to offer shore based courses and other logistics courses, but not for the female to go to sea.
Speaking at an event in Lagos recently, Director of the programme, a project of NIMASA, Mrs Irene Mcfoy said that the head of faculty of the Arab Academy had refused to take the cadets just because they are women and assumed they cannot face the rigours associated with going to sea and seafaring.
She however said that the team was able to prevail on the academy through the intervention of the Chairman, Seafarers Development Welfare Board, Otunba Kunle Folarin who led the team.
Mcfoy said "When we took our students to the Arab Academy in Egypt, they assumed that they were all male, but when we told them that we have a mixture of male and female, the head of faculty came out straight and said there was only room for shore based courses and that the female cannot go to sea"
"But we said to them that in Nigeria, women and men are regarded as the same and that if he is not willing to accept the female students, would go away with our male students too. It was Otunba Kunle Folarin that actually brokered the transaction because he has a standing relationship with them at the Arab Academy, so he led the delegation, he was very firm about it", she said.
Mcfoy however announced that notwithstanding the earlier discrimination, some of the first class students were females.
"We made them to understand that there was an existing challenge, the industry is a male dominated sector so they need to prove themselves, so we spur them and encouraged them " she said.