22 November 2013, Lagos – The federal government has concluded plans to give Nigerian cadets at its premier maritime training institution, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron, Akwa Ibom State avenues to get sea time experience.
The move will entail creating more opportunities for the cadets of MAN, Oron to get enlisted into the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
Already, the National Assembly has backed the move with the lower chamber, saying that it would do everything within its powers to ensure the success of the exercise.
An initiative of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), over 2,500 cadets are being trained in various maritime institutions in the USA, UK, Philippines, Ukraine and Egypt under the auspices of NSDP.
The programme was designed as a capacity-building training programme to develop seafarers’ pools that will take over from the aged sea men in Nigeria.
The cadets are studying Marine Engineering, Naval Architecture, and Marine Transportation on a scholarship funded by the federal government and states on the basis of 60 per cent and 40 per cent equity participation.
Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transport, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who dropped the hint in a chat with THISDAY in Manila, Philippines disclosed that the national assembly has enjoined NIMASA to expand the scope of the NSDP so that cadets of MAN, Oron can take advantage of it to get their sea time experience.
A representative of Igboeze North/Udenu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Ugwuanyi said more Nigerians needed to be integrated into the programme, given its potential to create wealth and eradicate unemployment scourge in the country.
Ugwuanyi was in the typhoon-ravaged country as the head of the Nigerian delegation to undertake an on-the-spot assessment of the cadets in NSDP in Philippines.
The legislator, who made a strong case for the cadets of MAN, Oron, hailed NIMASA for the federal government for the successes the programme has recorded so far.
His words: “There is no doubt that NIMASA is doing well but there is need to give those chaps at MAN, Oron who are not as privileged as those studying abroad under the NSDP but have the basic training, there is need to accommodate them in this programme. There are so many cadets in MAN, Oron who have not had the necessary sea-time experience to complement their theoretical knowledge.
“You cannot work in a ship when you do not have the sea-time experience. It is just like you want to be a computer specialist when you have not seen a computer. This is the area we are interested in as legislators, do your work and we shall do our own”, the law maker counseled NIMASA.
“We are happy that we are here in the Philippines. We are also happy that most of our students are here. But what is the number of people here compared with the numbers of people who would have ordinarily wanted to be part of the programme? So while we are praising NIMASA, we also want to use the opportunity to tell NIMASA to expand the scope of the programme so that it can accommodate more people”, he added.
– John Iwori, This Day