Ovai asks NIMASA to discontinue NSDP

The Rector of Star Maritime Academy, Ota, Dr Reuben Ovai has called on the acting Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Haruna Baba Jauro to discontinue the training of Nigerian seafarers abroad under the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).

While speaking exclusively with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on Friday, Ovai said the apex maritime agency should look inward for the training of seafarers in Nigeria.

He said, “As far as I am concerned, Nigeria is ripe enough to look inward for its training of its seafarers. The idea of sending Nigerians abroad for maritime training should be discontinued. We should look inward because there are institutions that can do the training here in Nigeria. We should look inward as far as capacity building is concerned in the maritime sector.”

Ovai who also doubles as the president of the Association of Licensed Maritime Academies of Nigeria (ALMAN) said the agency should call for a roundtable meeting with stakeholders in the industry on how to localise the training of seafarers.

“As far as manpower development is concerned in the industry, there should be roundtable discussion with stakeholders to discuss the way forward so that we can strategize the way forward as far as capacity building is concern.

“Government should put machinery in place by floating a shipping line because it will help in training the young Nigerian cadets. This is where we should be heading to. We should stop wasting the foreign exchange we have all in the name of training our seafarers abroad,” he said.

Recall that the former Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi reportedly spent over N20billion to train 2,500 seafarers from 2011 to January 2015.

The ex-DG said the amount the agency had spent on the cadets reached N20billion by January 2015 when the agency paid the 2015 training fees of its 2,500 cadets in various maritime institutions across the world.

Akpobolokemi said the amount included training fees, allowances, cost of laptops, books and other learning gadgets.

NSDP was initiated by NIMASA in 2009 under its then Director-General, Dr. Ade Dosunmu, with the aim of developing capacity and to bridging the manpower gap in the maritime industry.

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