14 December 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA; Dr. Ade Dosunmu has urged the Federal Government to establish more maritime academies to further decentralize the existing Maritime Academy of Nigeria,(MAN, in Oron, Akwa Ibom State
Dosunmu made the call during the Award and Gala night of the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria, MARAN.
The erstwhile NIMASA boss stated that there is need for Nigeria to concentrate its efforts into building both human and infrastructure capacity, even as he stressed the need for Nigeria to take a cue from the Philippines which has 50 million citizens with over 30 maritime academies.
He stated categorically that the main focus of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme, NSDP, which he initiated few years ago must not be lost on the current implementors.
According to him, the NSDP programme was not designed to be a permanent solution to the dearth of seafarers in Nigeria; rather, it was fashioned as a stop-gap measure to meet Nigeria’s demand for seafarers.
“Before I left office, I initiated the Nigeria Seafarer Development Programme, NSDP, because we did a survey which revealed that more than 60 to 70 per cent of the seafarers in Nigeria are foreigners and as we speak I don’t think that figure has changed, but it is a thing of joy that as we speak we have more than 2000 Nigerians outside the shores of this country undergoing training,” he stated.
“I don’t think the intention then was to make it a permanent thing, it was to make it a stop gap measure that will address this shortage that we have noticed. I think that this should not take away the issue of developing our own capacity locally,” Dosunmu warned.
He said that the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, in Oron Akwa Ibom State was established in 1978 for the purpose of churning out qualified mariners, but added that as it is, only one maritime institution is not enough to train personnel for the requirement of this industry.
“We keep talking about the Philippines supplying the largest number of seafarers to the world, they have a population of less than 50 million and they have more than 30 maritime institutions. Nigeria with a population of over 150million with only one institution, we need to address that and decentralize this opportunity”, he advised.
“When I was in office we went to Oguta, Badagry and even Lokoja because it is not everyone that can travel to MAN, Oron, hence four different sites were identified for establishment of maritime academies. If we had pursued that, those who are going out will still be going out and locally, we will still be training. At a point we may not even need to send people out, so I believe that the issue of capacity is very key,” Dosunmu said.