The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has promised possible job placements for the first batch of graduates from the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
Mr Ziakede Akpobolokemi, the Director-General of the agency, gave the promise on Saturday at a reception organised for the graduands at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikeja.
“We promise to do everything possible to provide jobs for these graduates because when the youth are hungry there will be trouble.
“Investing in the youth is the best assurance for a peaceful nation,” he said.
The News agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 22 graduates left for the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, Egypt in 2010 where they studied Marine Engineering and Nautical Sciences.
The NSDP was introduced by NIMASA to build manpower capacity to address the needs for local content in vessel manning.
The NIMASA director-general said the programme was on course to achieving its plan by creating a pool for manpower for the maritime industry both locally and internationally.
Akpobolokemi disclosed that the students had completed their four-year training including sea-time experience mandatory for international standards in seafaring.
“There were criticisms when we started and people talked about sea-time. This programme has the sea-time component because it was our resolve.”
He said that 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.
He thanked the governments of Ebonyi, Ekiti, Ondo and Benue States for keying into the programme and urged other states to take a cue from them.
“Although, it is expensive but we have resolved to invest in the youth to build Nigeria,” Akpobolokemi said.
Also speaking, Mr Kunle Folarin, the Chairman, National Seafarers Board, said the programme was poised to make the 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.
“With what NIMASA has started, I believe our maritime industry will be one of the best. There will also be jobs for these youths because more than 4,500 vessels call at our ports yearly,” Folarin said.
He advised the graduating cadets to remain focused and dedicated, adding that their Certificate of Competency had international value.
“Do great work for the nation because your profession is key to the development of the economy.
“Your Certificate of Competence is equivalent to currency which is recognised internationally,“he said.
Speaking on behalf of the cadets, Mr Raphael Faboro, expressed gratitude to NIMASA for the training, and requested that they should be assisted to get jobs.
“We thank NIMASA and we promise to be good ambassadors of the nation and we are prepared to serve diligently.
“We also request for more youths to be trained on the programme and we should be assisted to get jobs,” he said.
NAN also reports that out of the 22 cadets, nine were trained in Marine Engineering, while 13 received training in Nautical Sciences.