House of Representatives member-elect 2019 and two-time member of the Lagos House of Assembly, Mufutau Egberongbe has joined other maritime stakeholders to canvass inclusion of Maritime studies in secondary school curriculums in Nigeria.
Egberongbe stated this while speaking at the 2019 "Children's Day/Ocean Ambassadors Seaport and Ship Experience" which was organized by Vow Ventures Limited at the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in Apapa, Lagos.
A total of 24 secondary students who participated in the programme were drawn from six schools in Lagos.
Egberongbe said there is need for synergy between schools and the maritime industry so that students can begin to appreciate opportunities that abound in the maritime industry.
According to him, the industry is still very alien to Nigerian school system who does not know the various opportunities that abound.
The lawmaker lamented that numerous job opportunities and resources is hidden from the children who are the future generation. He said this was why there was so much unemployment in the country whilst opportunities abound in maritime.
He said that crash courses in maritime should be organised by professional maritime institutions for university graduates roaming the streets in search of jobs.
"The programme is an eye opener as to what maritime sector actually entails in terms of job opportunities, in terms of what it can rake in for the Nigerian state and the aesthetic nature. We are made to understand that you find more oxygen in the ocean than you find in the land"
"I want to say that this should be embodied in our school curriculum, going forward, I want to think that this class should invite the Ministry of Education, the curriculum department in particular, so that maritime can begin to form our curriculum in schools and we can begin to catch them young"
"Again, even on the interim, those that have gone to the university and graduated and are still roaming about and searching for jobs, we can have a crash program for them and introduce them to the maritime sector.
There are lots of job opportunities for all and sundry in the maritime sector" he said.
Also speaking at the annual event, Head of Admin and Human Resources of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr Akinwe Oluwole stressed the need for institutions in Nigeria to take it as a point of duty and ensure that export trade is included in their curriculum.
"If we are starting from this level, I am sure that in one or two decades, we would have a full blown export activities in Nigeria" he said.
While enlightening the students on the various exportable items in Nigeria, he said there are mineral resources which are yet untapped across every state in Nigeria.
According to him "Lack of policies over the years has caused Nigerians not to take advantage of the God given potentials and mineral resources that abound in the country"
"Some of these policies has to do with the environment, they are capital intensive, so it is about policies of the government"
On her part, Organiser of the event and Chief Executive Officer of VOW Ventures; Violet William described the program as a catch them young in the maritime sector which holds Yearly.
She said the idea is to open the sector up to the upcoming generation.
She stressed the need for Nigerian law makers to push a Bill for coastal communities in Nigeria to ensure that maritime is enshrined in school curriculums.
Speaking, she said "Nigeria is a maritime nation, Lagos is a maritime state but all the opportunities are not being harnessed and then, everybody cannot be a Dangote, the global village is now talking entrepreneurship, how do we get our own upcoming generation to key into the arrangement, the global village is talking ocean economy, how can our children partake in ocean economy when they don't even know that we have water and the aquatic world"
"So, some friends and I in Nigeria and Ghana at a regional level to form the Ocean Ambassadors, it is an NGO, but you must undergo our own unconventional classrooms, because this is not the four walls of a conventional class room, and they don't teach them what we are teaching them, here we bring practitioners to talk to them and open up the sector and change their orientation"
"After the lectures, we take them to the seaports where they board the vessel, from there, they would now go for the maritime quiz, after the maritime quiz they will become our own ambassador", she said.