Obviously disenchanted by the lukewarm attitude by most state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has decided to go it alone on the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
The NSDP is a strategic intervention designed to address the manpower requirements in the maritime sector was floated in 2009 by NIMASA under its erstwhile Director General, Dr. Ade Dosunmu for the training of ratings and cadets.
Hitherto, under the NSDP, NIMASA provided 40 per cent of the fees for training a particular candidate, whose state would have provided 60 per cent in counterpart funding as sponsors.
Unfortunately, in the three years of the scheme’s existence, only a negligible number of the 36 states were active participants.
The FCT has also not recorded any participation in the scheme to date.
However, in a bid to prevent the NSDP from flagging and possibly dying off, the NIMASA management is currently re-jigging the scheme, expanding the scope of training for candidates as ratings and cadets.
As part of the overhaul of the NSDP, NIMASA is assuming full sponsorship of successful, candidates for the scheme, which the agency states is open to candidates from all states of the Federation including the FCT.
Announcing the procedure for application, NIMASA stated that “prospective candidates are expected to download form from the agency’s website www.nimasa.gov.ng and fill and send all relevant documents as an attachment to this email firstname.lastname@example.org,”commencing May14, 2012 and closing May 21, 2012.
“Names of successful candidates will be published and the date and venue of the examinations will be communicated accordingly,” NIMASA stated, advising those seeking further enquiries to do so through the email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
NIMASA explained that“every prospective candidate in the cadet’s category is expected to sit for an entrance examination” in English Language, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, and “must possess” “at least five O’ level credits in English Language, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and other science subject which may include Geography, Technical Drawing, Additional Mathematics etc.”
The decision of NIMASA to sail solo by assuming full sponsorship of the programme is laudable, since the various states are not coming forward after three years of the scheme.
However, there is real need for NIMASA to ensure that the rightful candidates get the various slots. The agency should not allow the so-called Nigerian factor, the question of who applicants know or do not know within the agency influencing those that will be selected for the initiative.
NIMASA must allay the fear in the minds of many, who are of the opinion that the slots may just be for the families and friends and others connected to NIMASA officials and other interests besides meritocracy.
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