Stakeholders dole out N7.6m donations
By Kenneth Jukpor
As part of efforts to reward excellent cadets from the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has awarded automatic scholarship to thirty-three (33) first-class NSDP cadets who successfully concluded their seatime training with distinctions.
The Director General of NIMASA who revealed at a flag-off ceremony to celebrate the seatime experience and certificate of competency attained by 239 NSDP cadets, noting that seatime experience had become a global challenge to several nations of the world.
The NIMASA boss commended the efforts and achievements of the cadets while declaring that they all have automatic employment at the agency if they choose to work in NIMASA.
He recalled that the dearth of seafarers over the years became a concern for the nation and a clarion call for NIMASA which led the agency to introduce the NSDP initiative in 2009, a programme which has seen over 2,300 cadets trained.
Dr. Dakuku also assured that the agency wasn’t resting on its oars as it had plans to provide seatime training for 887 cadets ready for seatime and the over 1600 cadets still at various levels of training.
“Nigeria is sending you out as ambassadors across the globe and the least we expect is that you make the nation proud. Bring the flair and ‘can do spirit’ that Nigerians have used to excel in various fields such as medicine, engineering, science, etc., around the world” he addressed the cadets.
“We have opened a new chapter in Nigeria’s quest to provide capacity for the sector and we have plans to gradually provide seatime for all NSDP cadets. This is the first batch, another batch would be sent for seatime soon”, Dakuku said.
The cadets also received N7.6million cash donations as a form of encouragement from various stakeholders at the forum.
Recall that earlier in June this year, Dakuku said that a total number of 943 cadets of the NSDP will be placed onboard ocean going vessels for their mandatory sea time, as facilitated by NIMASA with institutions in Egypt, United Kingdom and Turkey.
On her part, the Chairperson Ship-owners Forum, Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi donated $5,000 each to the two top female cadets that finished with distinctions with Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.9 out of 4.0 from the Arab Academy in Egypt.
Orakwusi said; “We need to appreciate what the Director General of NIMASA has done. He has made some otherwise unemployable people now employable cadets. This would provide another source of generating foreign exchange for the country”
She admonished the cadets to take up the challenge to make NIMASA, the maritime industry, their families and the nation at large, proud.
“I’m giving the two female cadets who finished with distinction $5,000 each. I would send the money through the NIMASA Director General tomorrow” she stated joyfully.
Similarly, the Acting President of Nigerian Indigenous Ship-owners Association (NISA) Alhaji Aminu Umar made a donation of N2million to all the cadets who finished with distinction, even as he stated that his company was ready to employ 25 cadets.
Aminu urged the cadets to be diligent and tenacious, revealing that they have found themselves in a luxuriantly rewarding profession as the captains in his crews earn more than the Managing Director of the company.
Aminu who said his company has 60% of its crew as Nigerians, also commended the contribution of female cadets in the sector, noting that his company had observed immense growth since it started recruiting female cadets.
“The contribution of female cadets to our company and the sector at large has been immense. I recall that before we took the last set which had two females, I took out the females and specifically asked them if they were ready for the job, highlighting the ordeals but I realized that their zeal and drive to become the best in their fields was unquestionable and the result of that crew was tremendous” he said.
Meanwhile the Public Relations Officer of NISA, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori reminded the cadets that going to sea demanded more than their academic qualifications.
Ilori who also gave out N100,000 each to the best cadets who finished with distinctions said; “You may be stressed; sometimes there might be no food but you would have to be strong because the ship must continue on its voyage and the captain would keep dishing out instructions and orders that you must obey. Your career is one that would drive Nigeria’s economy” he said.
A maritime lawyer, Mr. Mike Igbokwe (SAN) also commended the cadets for their excellence even as he gave a donation of N500,000 to the cadets.
Also speaking at the event, the Vice President of Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) Prof. Alsnosy Balbaa commended the cadets from Arab Academy for their noteworthy character while in the institution.
“I worked closely with them and I must commend their character. I’m proud to see them celebrated today because they aren’t just my students; I see them as my kids. Many of them faced several challenges but they were able to overcome them and I must congratulate Nigeria as a nation for this achievement.”
“Imagine if 1,000 Nigerian cadets earn $15,000 plus as international cadets. As one who was a captain in the past I can tell you that this job is a rewarding one although it is not easy. You contribute to the growth and development of several nations of the world. Seafaring is a humanitarian job” he added.