… As Oyo, Ogun, Osun, 16 others are denied NSDP gains
Killing of those who engage in piracy, oil theft and such illegal activities may soon become the order of the day in Nigeria, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), on Tuesday warned.
The NIMASA Director General, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi who gave the warning in Lagos during a press briefing also noted that the measure had worked effectively in Cameroon waters; equally highlighted that only 17 States, out of 36 in the country have shown interest in benefiting from the Federal Government’s program of training youths in foreign countries, as seafarers, aimed at directly earning hard currency for Nigeria.
He assured that piracy would soon be drastically reduced, if not totally curbed, emphasizing that with either the decimation of their numbers or destruction of their vessels when arrested, the desired level of deterrence would have been achieved.
“This (killing of pirates) has been very effective in Cameroon”, the Director General, whose presentation was made by his able hand, Captain Warredi Enisuoh said, noting that although the agency might not embark on the option immediately, the option may become finally adopted, in the bid to curtail such illegitimate operations in the nation’s water.
Speaking on the issue of capacity building, the agency boss said with the recent coming on board of Plateau State, there were now 17 States, excluding Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Anambra and 15 others who have refused to send their youths and pay the required stipends, despite all appeals, from the agency.
“I am glad to inform you that under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Program (NSDP), which started five yeses ago, over 2,500 young Nigerians have benefited or are currently enjoying various levels of sponsorship in schools in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Romania, India and Philippines.
“The first set of 23 qualified seafarers under the scheme have already emerged from the Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport, Egypt, having completed their sea time training.and earned their Certificates of Competences (CoC)”, he stated, adding that 14 came out with first class, while one Nigerian student emerged the overall best, of the institution this year.
“At the moment, 51 of our students are at sea acquiring their sea experience on various ocean-going vessels. Another set of 33 are also ready to join their colleagues at sea before the end of August 2014.
“The agency has also introduced a programme for rating; 200 beneficiaries will be going to the Philippines, while 100 are billed to proceed to Malaysia for training” he noted further, adding that the vision behind developing a shipyard and a dockyard facilities near the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko at the cost of over N58 billion was to ensure that both the students and the economy, maximally benefit.
A list of States presently benefiting from the NSDP showed the Northern States in the majority, with the North Central posting Niger State, Benue, Kogi, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory.
The North West came up with Jigawa State, Kano, Kaduna, Katsima and Gombe States; when the North East had Borno and Yobe States on board. The South West has Ekiti, Ondo and Lagos States, when only Ebonyi State made it from the South East.
Responding to a question, the agency boss said they had appealed to all the States to send students, and therefore could not be accused of marginalization in future, in the event of lopsided development in the sub sector.