By Okezie Nnadi
The Honourable Minister Of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has commended the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for what he described as human capital development.
Sambo made the commendation during the flag off ceremony of the second batch of the third phase of the Nigerian Seafarers’ Development Programme (NSDP) which he described as a success.
The Minister said the agency deserves accolades for the giant strides so far made in the area of human capital development of the maritime sector.
Sambo noted that the collapse of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) created a gap in the manpower development of the shipping industry in Nigeria especially in the area of shipboard training and manning.
“The implementation of the coastal and inland shipping policy increased the demand for Nigerian seafarers which as at that time was in gross shortage.
“In addressing the aforementioned shortfall the Federal Ministry of Transportation and NIMASA midwifed the Nigerian Seafarers’ Development Programme (NSDP) in 2008.
“The programme as an intervention was designed to train Nigerian youths to become seafarers. The choice of foreign Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs) was mainly based on capacity and certification of the Institutions in the area of maritime training (STCW) by IMO.
“The initiative targeted training globally competitive officers that will erase the unfortunate discrimination that exists between local and foreign trained officers in practice,” he said.
Sambo revealed that efforts are also ongoing in the area of upgrading local Maritime Training Institutions to enable them take up the NSDP trainings in the near future.
He said the NSDP has so far been a success story and has further advanced the human capacity development programme of the Federal Government.
The Minister said the NSDP from inception in 2008 has trained over 2,000 students in Marine Engineering, Nautical Science and Naval Architecture out of which many are now gainfully employed and sailing on both coastal and international vessels.
“The presence of these officers is a further testament to the fact that the programme is a success and thus the President Muhammadu Buhari Led Administration is worthy of commendation
“I have been made to understand that the programme had produced a female tugboat captain in the person of CANUS EBINIPRE ROBINSON and several Deck mates and 2nd Engineers currently sailing in both coastal and international vessels.
“The NLNG has in the meantime employed more than 44 of NSDP officers and still counting. This is quite commendable and calls for more concerted efforts towards ensuring that the NSDP graduates are gainfully employed and I am happy the women are not left out.
“The success of this laudable policy cannot be overemphasized therefore the Federal Ministry of Transportation will continue to encourage and partner with NIMASA on NSDP and other policies on the development of a sustainable maritime based economy (Blue Economy),” he said.
According to Sambo, the Ministry is also giving its nod on the expansion of the Programme by another set of 435 new students to be recruited into the NSDP.
He said the flag off of the 3rd phase of NSDP ‘’Christened NSDP-TERRA’’ marks another milestone in the development of manpower in line with the Federal Government policy on youth empowerment.
“We urge the beneficiaries to be good ambassadors of the Nation and justify the massive investment in you.
“This programme is a rare opportunity that is highly sought after by your peers, but providence has placed it on you and must be guarded jealously for the development and benefit of the Nation.
“We will continually monitor your progress in the programme and will not hesitate to discipline the recalcitrant ones among you as a good father will do.
“I urge you all to eschew drugs and any conduct that will portray the nation in bad light. You are our tomorrow, guard our heritage. Finally, I once again, congratulate the beneficiaries and wish them success.
“God bless NIMASA and the Federal Ministry of Transportation, God bless President Muhammadu Buhari, God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and most importantly, God bless you all,” he said.