The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)has assured graduates under the National Seafarers Department Programme(NSDP) that it would engage management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for beneficiaries to participate in the scheme.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside disclosed this while reacting to some of the demands made by the aggrieved cadets during last Monday protest at the agency’s corporate head office in Lagos.
Apparently perturbed about the peaceful demonstration by the aggrieved youths ,the DG rallied round top executives of the agency to assist the cadets numbering 48 with a paltry N400,000 as consolidation, thus provided a 46 – passengers coaster bus as a means of transportation back home.
“There are three things we are going to do urgently, one is that we should take proper attendance of those who are here, two , there is refreshment for you and three ,I will look for N400,000 to borrow from my staff “,he noted .
It was also gathered that the aggrieved cadets came to Lagos all the way from the Niger Delta region.
The NIMASA boss further stressed the agency’s commitment to ensuring that all beneficiaries of the NSDP conclude their programme by getting the mandatory sea-time training.
“I have asked my director, maritime labour service to doctor the issue down and I will follow up the issue with the NYSC because the certificate you have is original because it is called provisional .
“We will take it up with NYSC because by right you are supposed to serve but I don’t have the final guarantee on that “,he said
The NSDP scheme was flagged-off in September, 2009 to complement full implementation of the Cabotage Act, 2003, which in itself is geared towards strengthening indigenous tonnage capacity with one of its cardinal objectives being that coastal vessels are to be exclusively manned by Nigerians.
The DG who noted that NIMASA is doing all it can to ensure all those who graduated in the scheme are duly enrolled on ocean-going vessels within the shortest possible time.
He also assured that in addition to the over 600 cadets who have benefitted so far from the sea time training, the agency is working so hard to ensure that another batch of not less than 200 cadets are enrolled between now and the first quarter of 2019.
He noted that “Sea-time training is your right and I assure you that none of you will be denied the mandatory sea-time training. On our part as an agency, we value human capacity development, which is the hallmark of any economy that will thrive; hence we will not rest on our oars until we see you succeed”, the DG said.
Speaking further, Dr. Peterside informed them that the agency is in discussions with some foreign institutions to place seafarers on board ocean-going vessels and that in no distant time more cadets will be placed on board for their sea-time training.
Dr. Peterside who also used the opportunity to commend the contribution of seafarers to the growth of the economy, expressed confidence that in no distant time, Nigeria will be a great exporter of seafarers on the African continent.
“We are not training you to be placed onboard Cabotage vessels for only local trade; but rather, we are investing so much on you so that you can be placed onboard ocean-going vessels, which will put you on the same pedestal with your counterparts in the global maritime community, thereby giving you an edge to compete favourably”, he said.
The Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme was conceived in 2008 as a deliberate policy to ameliorate the dearth in certified and qualified seafarers and of course the depletion of seafarers in our national pool due mainly to age and migratory instinct for greener pastures by seafarers.
It may be recalled that out of the over 2,000 beneficiaries of the scheme, 340 cadets have already completed their sea-time training. In addition to this, 150 Cadets are undergoing the sea-time in Egypt and another 89 others are in the United Kingdom.