The Alumni Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron (AMANO), has expressed worries over the menace of fake certificates by seafarers.
President of the academy, Emmanuel Maigu-wa, in a statement, noted that Nigeria had earned bad reputation in Africa because of the fraudulent activities of some few bad eggs among seafarers forging certificates.
“Coastwise in Africa, we have been known to be fraudulent when it comes to certification because of some of the bad eggs that have forged certificates and they will give you reasons that it is because of difficulties in getting their certificates renewed. So, they find it easy to go and forge certificates. This has become known to other West African countries and that has put a dent on our certificates,” he said.
While acknowledging the efforts of the academy in checking the menace, Maiguwa said that with the commencement of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which promises open trade among African nations, Nigerian seafarers may miss out on employment opportunities if the fake certificate menace remains unchecked.
“What the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron did was to introduce a security certificate that will make it difficult for people to forge, but that is just one step in redeeming our credibility in Africa.
“If we are not able to redeem this credibility, the AfCFTA that is coming will end up being negative for Nigerian seafarers.
“We are complaining about Filipinos and Indians taking the jobs of Nigerian seafarers but now AfCFTA requires that all the flags in Africa should be able to allow all nationalities work on each other’s flagged vessels.
“So, if we don’t build our credibility and get into free trade agreement that allows a Ghanaian or Beninoise to work on our cabotage vessels as long as he is qualified, then we will have a problem on what mechanism we are going to use to ensure that ship owners employ our own seafarers.
“We will not just lose the opportunity available in the entire West Africa, we will equally lose the opportunity that we have in our coastal trade because the free trade agreement requires that the Cabotage law we have should be reviewed to domesticate the free trade agreement that we have signed,” he said.
Maiguwa commended the academy for acquiring simulators for the training of cadets, but noted that the academy was still faced with the challenge of attracting qualified and experienced lecturers due to poor staff remuneration.
Maiguwa said AMANO would soon commence engagement with relevant authorities to create a special compensation package for the academy to enable it attract reputable lecturers.