At a mind-boggling cost, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has, through its Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), produced 130 cadet graduates from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside indicated this in a message to the graduation ceremony in Egypt, made available by the Head, Corporate Communications of the agency, Mr Isichie Osamgbi, on Sunday in Lagos.
Peterside who was represented at the graduation ceremony by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr Gambo Ahmed however was silent on the issue of whether the cadets would acquire sea time skills from the institution pro Bono, or at another dollars consuming cost!
According to Peterside, this 130 cadets has currently increased the pool of seafarers in the sector to 1,045, which is the total number of graduates from the NSDP project.
He said the number of graduates represented 42 per cent of the over 2,500 NIMASA-sponsored beneficiaries.
According to the Director-General , NIMASA sponsored over 2,500 aspiring cadets to the best maritime institutions around the world including Egypt, Romania, The Philipines, UK as well as India.
He said 226 cadets graduated from the Arab Academy in Egypt, 76 from South Tyneside, Newcastle in England, while 743 graduated from various partner universities in The Philippines.
Peterside congratulated the graduands, who had their degrees in various maritime -related disciplines ranging from marine transport and logistics, nautical engineering.
He advised the graduands to utilise the knowledge they acquired to improve on the fortunes of the Nigerian maritime industry.
The Director General said that the school had agreed to partner with NIMASA in providing sea time training for the graduating students and other NSDP graduands from other schools, which had hitherto been a challenge.
He said that this would further complement the agency’s other efforts in getting sea time training for graduate cadets.
Peterside said NIMASA was exploring other avenues to enrich the NSDP programme.
He said that the impact of the programme would be felt worldwide, as Nigeria would soon start exporting seafarers like the Philippines and other reputable maritime nations.
“This will reduce unemployment in the country and attract the much-needed foreign exchange,’’ the director-general said.
The graduands expressed appreciation for the opportunity granted them to excel and pledged to use the knowledge acquired to enhance the Nigerian maritime sector.
The NSDP which was floated by NIMASA in 2008 to curb the dearth of trained and certified seafarers in the country has since become a huge drain pipe.
Industry watchers grieve that the amount spent to produce 130 cadets abroad will be more than enough to produce 1000 at home.
In the meantime, Ms Malu Dreyer, Head of Bundestrat, the Upper Chamber of the German Parliament, has pledged Germany’s support to Nigeria in its economic recovery effort.
Dreyer, who spoke at the weekend while receiving a delegation of the Nigeria Senate led by its President, Dr Bukola Saraki, in Berlin said that Nigeria deserved the support of Germany to boost its economic recovery plans.
A statement by Saraki’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, quoted Dreyer as saying that “Germany will support the on-going economic recovery programme in the country,’’.
She said that her country would look towards extending the special partnership and grassroots co-operation which it presently had with Rwanda to Nigeria, adding that more exchange programmes between the two countries should be initiated.
Source: Maritime First