Aisha Buhari leads campaign for female seafarers

Aisha Buhari
Aisha Buhari

The First Lady, Aisha Buhari, will be leading other dignitaries and stakeholders in the maritime community to campaign and encourage more female participation in seafaring and maritime trade as the country joins the rest of the world to mark this year’s Day of the Seafarer on June 25.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, disclosed this at the weekend in Lagos during a chat with journalists.

He said the presence of the First Lady will boost the on-going campaign to encourage the participation of more women in seafaring and the maritime sector, in line with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) campaign.

Peterside regretted that very few females were in the profession of seafaring and said NIMASA was working with stakeholders to try to reverse “the great imbalance.”

He said the presence of the President’s wife, who will be leading other prominent women in the maritime industry to the event scheduled to hold in Lagos, will be a boost to the efforts to attract more female involvement in the sector.

He noted that this year’s event, themed “On board with gender equality”, was geared towards encouraging more women to take advantage of opportunities in the maritime sector, particularly as seafarers; as Marine Engineers, Nautical Scientists, Marine Surveyors, Deck officers and even grow to become Master Mariners.

“Statistics available have shown that only 2% of the total seafarers across the world are females and more disappointing is the fact that majority of this percentage are from the Philippines a country which dominates the profession in huge numbers, raking in huge income / foreign exchange. So there is need for us to take conscious and deliberate actions to encourage women to take a career in seafaring,” he said.

The NIMASA DG said this year’s Day of the Seafarer was unique, as it is focused on highlighting the fact that the seafaring profession is not a career solely preserved for men but one that can accommodate all genders. He also disclosed that there would be a one-day sensitisation workshop on Monday in Lagos for over 400 Nigerian female students from all over the country to showcase the benefits of taking a career in seafaring.

IMO has raised concerns about the low level of participation by females in the seafaring profession and has, therefore, selected “empowering women in the maritime community” as this year’s theme for the World Maritime Day.

The United Nation’s specialised organ advised member-states to key into the theme for various celebrations within the year. Hence, Nigeria’s focus on the subject of creating gender equality during the celebration of the 2019 Day of the Seafarer.

This year’s celebrations which will be co-hosted by the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, and the Executive Secretary Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello is also expected to have in attendance the wife of the Governor of Lagos State, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.