No fewer than 235 young Nigerians have been sent to India and Greece for training under the auspices of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said.
Christened NSDP Phase 3, TERRA II, the beneficiaries are batch B of the 435 young Nigerians to be trained as Licensed Deck and Engine Officers including Naval Architects.
Speaking at the send forth ceremony which took place recently at the Naval Dockyard, Lagos, the Minister of Transportation Engr. Muazu Jaji Sambo noted that the Federal Government’s decision to continue with the project is based on the role it is playing in developing capacity for the Nigerian maritime industry.
Continuing, Sambo who was the special guest of honour at the occasion said: “The success of this laudable policy cannot be over-emphasised. Therefore, the Federal Ministry of Transportation will continue to encourage and partner with NIMASA on NSDP and other policies on the development of a sustainable maritime based economy (blue economy).
Hence, the Ministry explicitly gave its nod on the expansion of the programme by another set of 435 new students to be recruited into the NSDP. The flag off of the 3rd phase of NSDP ‘’Christened NSDP-TERRA’’ marks another milestone in the development of manpower in line with the Federal Government’s policy on youth empowerment”.
Also speaking, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, noted that the agency is working with countries which are committed to an understanding for mutual recognition of Certificate of Competency (CoC) in selecting the institutes to train the beneficiaries.
While acknowledging some teething challenges experienced by the NSDP scholarship scheme in the earlier phases, Jamoh noted that all grey areas have been addressed to ensure a better deal for both beneficiaries and the Nigerian Government.
“We have taken measures to ensure that all encumbrances experienced in previous phases of the programme are avoided in this new phase. These include improved recruitment process spread across the six geo-political zones, introduction of a code of conduct for the beneficiaries and most importantly, engaging maritime training institutions (MTIs) that offer shore-based training, shipboard training and the Certificate of Competency licensing to eliminate the long delay in securing sea time training berths that was experienced with the previous set of students. NIMASA comparatively got the most reasonable cost for the training and in countries with mutual recognition of CoC with Nigeria”, he added.
Giving a breakdown of the number of seafarer enrolment, graduates and those already employed, Jamoh said: “It is important to note that from inception to 2020, the programme has enrolled 2,041 students, while 892 are now licensed deck and engine officers including Naval Architects, the rest are in their final stage of the programme.
“It may please the Minister to know that about 486 of the graduates are now gainfully employed and sailing in both coastal and ocean going vessels, adding that the NLNG Ship Management Limited is the leading employer of NSDP beneficiaries in the country, with over 40 on their pay roll already.
The erstwhile Director General of NIMASA whose administration initiated NSDP, Dr. Ade Dosunmu; the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju; Secretary General of Abuja MoU, Captain Sunday Umoren; former President of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Engr. Greg Ogbeifun; Nigerian ship owner, Alhaji Aminu Umar; and the President of Ship Owners Forum, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi were among the stakeholders that graced the occasion.
In their various good will messages, they enjoined the beneficiaries to be good ambassadors of the country, noting that they can be described as privileged Nigerians.
Maritime Bits had reported that NIMASA in 2008 initiated the NSDP with the sole mandate of training Nigerian youths to become seafarers and Naval Architects in fulfilling one of its mandate in the area of maritime capacity building.
The programme was designed to train Nigerian youths up to degree level in Marine Engineering, Nautical Sciences and Naval Architecture in some of the best MTIs abroad and to position them to compete effectively in the global maritime industry.
It was noted that the number of Nigerian seafarers on ocean going vessels as at then had depleted over the years and the urgent need to boost it adequately for effective implementation of the coastal and inland shipping policy of the Government, informed the initiative.