Governors of the 19 northern states in Nigeria under the aegis of Northern Governors forum have resolved to support and adopt the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) which is an initiative of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Ade Dosunmu made the position of the Northern Governors public last week in Ibadan at the opening of the South West leg of the sensitization workshop of the NSDP.
Explaining how it happened, Dr Dosunmu told the gathering of shipping experts and would-be seafarers that “ I was invited by the Northern Governors to make a presentation to them on this programme during their forum which took place in Kaduna . At the end of my presentation, the Governors passed a resolution to support and adopt the Seafarers Development Programme for their various states.” The final endorsement of the programme came a few weeks after the seminar was taken to Minna, Niger State where the state Governor Dr Babangida Aliyu; apparently impressed by the inherent benefits of the programme promised to sell it to his colleagues in the forum and that he would ensure that the NIMASA boss was invited to address the Governors.
At the Ibadan event the Oyo state Governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala who declared it open also restated the State Government’s willingness to partner with NIMASA to ensure the success of the seafarers development programme.
Governor Akala who lamented that more than 85 per cent of employment opportunities in the Nigerian maritime sector have been taken up by foreigners, expressed the view that the seafarers development programme has the potential of reversing the trend. He added that seafaring should be inculcated into the curricula of learning in Nigerian secondary schools.
Former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Chief Adebayo Sarumi who chaired the event, also noted that the sea is very central to the growth of the Nigerian economy.
While commending the Management of NIMASA for initiative, Chief Sarumi advised the youths to embrace a career at sea describing it as highly rewarding. “I must commend the NIMASA Management for taking this initiative. It is actually long overdue as foreigners now dominate the Nigerian waters. This programme has the potential of totally transforming the face of seafaring in Nigeria”.
Dr Dosunmu, while delivering his keynote address, noted that the on-going sensitization exercise was aimed at creating genuine national awareness on the potentials of the Nigerian maritime sector and also to create equal opportunities for Nigerians as well as increasing the nation’s skill base.
He declared that the Agency’s resolve to develop institutional structures which will guarantee a ready pool of seafarers for Nigeria has been further strengthened by the commitment displayed by the participation of the people during the zonal sensitization programmes across the six geo political zones of the country.
Under the Seafarers development programme, NIMASA will request nomination from all the states of the federation and provide candidates with the opportunities to develop proficiencies in seafaring, using the agency’s resources in combination with those of the states and other private sector concerns.
The South West event which took place at Mapo Hall in Ibadan was the sixth in the series.