The Federal Government has promised to assist seafarers in the country get jobs in line with its blueprint on revamping the sector.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, stated this recently at a reception for graduates of seafaring who were sponsored overseas under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
He said the 22 graduates who returned from Egypt having majored in Marine Engineering and Nautical Science would be given jobs soon.
He revealed that about 2,505 students are currently studying various maritime programmes in reputable universities across the world under the NSDP.
Akpobolokemi urged more states to key into the programme, explaining that the best way to guarantee peace in the society is to create jobs for the teeming youths.
“No amount of guns or weapons can guarantee peace in a society if the youths are jobless. This programme is laudable. We’re building capacity to operate a successful Cabotage programme. We’ll soon be exporting seafarers and earning foreign exchange from places like Philippines, South Korea and the rest,” he noted.
He said there had been a quiet revolution to ensure that many Nigerians work in the cabotage trade as a way of encouraging local content in crewing.
While assuring the returnee cadets of jobs, Akpobolokemi thanked the governments of Ebonyi, Ekiti, Ondo and Benue states for keying into the programme.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the National Seafarers’ Welfare Board, Otunba Kunle Folarin, said NSDP was poised to make Nigeria’s maritime industry one of the best in the world.
He expressed the hope that there would always be jobs for people, who had quality training in the industry with the more than 4,500 vessels berthing at the nation’s ports annually.
The best graduating student, Raphael Faboro, thanked President Goodluck Jonathan, NIMASA and other stakeholders for the NSDP scholarship scheme, which he described as the best gift for the youths. He implored the government to involve the youths in all its programmes as they represent the future of the nation.
A representative of the parents, Felix Ayu, who doubles as a Special Assistant to the Benue State Governor, said the programme has restored hope to the downtrodden who never believed their wards could ever see the four walls of a tertiary institution, let alone schooling abroad.
“We never knew something golden was coming when we keyed into this programme. We selected students from poor background in various villages to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. I thank the NIMASA DG for sustaining this programme and I urge him to facilitate the employment of these brilliant young lads. This is when the cycle will be complete,” he said.
Source : SunOnline