03 October 2014, Lagos – The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi has said only job creation for the teaming youths will guarantee the peace for the country.
He said it was in a bid to create jobs for the youths in the country that his agency has been in the forefront of human capacity development in the last four years.
The NIMASA helmsman stated this in Lagos at a reception organised for 22 cadets trained under the Nigeria Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) and who recently graduated from the Arab Maritime Academy in Alexandra, Egypt, where they majored in Marine Engineering and Nautical Science.
According to him, the best way to guarantee peace in the society is to create jobs for the teeming youths.
He pointed out that no amount of guns or weapons could guarantee peace in a society, if the youths were jobless, hence the determination of his agency to sustain the seafarers’ training initiative.
“The best form of security is investing in the youths. No amount of guns or weapons can guarantee peace and security in any nation if the youths are idle. Today, the evolution of China as an industrial economy has debunked the age-long held notion that saw huge population as a disadvantage instead of as an asset. China has shown that a huge population, if well managed, can be to a country’s advantage.
“If we have a huge population of youths in Nigeria, we can turn this into an advantage by creating job opportunities like the National Seafarers Development Programme of NIMASA for the benefit of the country”, he stressed.
The NSDP, which was initiated by the erstwhile Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Shamsudeen Ade Dosunmu was geared toward training of young seafarers in selected maritime training institutions across the globe.
Akpobolokemi said since he assumed office, he has stepped up efforts in training thousands of youths as seafarers.
He stated that the agency, which remains the eye of the global maritime watchdog, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in Nigeria has spent so much on the training of seafarers,
“I stand to be corrected, but I make bold to say that no other country of the world spends as much as Nigeria in training seafarers”, he declared.
Continuing, he said: “Four years ago, I came to NIMASA and met a very laudable programme that has to do with training our youths in seafaring. I felt it must be sustained. It has not been easy but we have to do it. I stand to be corrected, if there is any nation in the world today, who is committing as much huge resources as Nigeria in the training of seafarers. To train one seaman is a huge cost. NIMASA alone is sponsoring over 2,000 youths in different universities across the world. The programme is quite expensive but we have to do it. We’ll look for the money from anywhere in order to continue this programme”.
Though he decline to mention how much the agency had spent so far on the programme, sources close to the agency said the amount runs into billions of naira.
He assured the new graduands that his agency will do everything possible to provide the cadets jobs, even as he pointed out that investing in the youth is the best assurance for a peaceful nation.
Akpobolokemi disclosed that the students had completed their four-year training including sea-time experience mandatory for international standards in seafaring.
He stressed: “There were criticisms when we started and people talked about sea-time. This programme has the sea-time component because it was our resolve.”