The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in collaboration with Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) sensitised some Lagos Island primary school pupils on careers in the maritime industry on Wednesday in Lagos.
The programme, a maritime quiz for primary 5 and 6 pupils, with the theme: “New Technologies for Greener Shipping,” was also to commemorate the 2022 World Maritime Day celebration scheduled for Sept. 29.
Mrs Sarat Braimah, Area Manager, NIWA, noted that the quiz was a means of catching them young for the maritime industry and imparting knowledge that would yield the needed change.
“This is part of the event to commemorate the 2022 World Maritime Day celebration.
NIWA is in charge of primary schools, the Nigerian Ports Authority is for secondary schools and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency is for tertiary institutions.
“On the theme, we are encouraging the young children to know and write about the new technologies for shipping and they have written a lot of essays and the most brilliant ones will emerge.
“NIWA wants people to know and key into the theme of this year’s world maritime day because the new technologies will bring about greener shipping,” she said.
According to her, greener shipping is about doing things that are safer, like new engines, technology, and ways of operation to have an eco-friendly environment and secured inland waterways.
The NIWA boss said the winner of the competition would be presented on world maritime day and given a special gift by the Internation Maritime Organisation (IMO).
On the topic, of new technologies, she said it had to do with addressing climate change, means of operation, ships and boat emissions, and locomotive ways, adding that with new technology, these would be reduced.
“This is a new thing and everyone will have to key into it for greener waterways, and the children should know about it at early ages,” she said.
Also, Mrs Violet Williams, convener OAF, noted that the catching them young initiative would enable the children at an early age to know about greener shipping and the technology involved.
“Presently with the catch them young programme that I do, I have two girls studying marine engineering and two boys studying nautical sciences in Ghana, also today’s examiner is studying engineering at the University of Lagos.
“Yes, it’s not easy but the resilience and the passion of the children are driving me because they want to learn more.
“That is why we decided to continue with the OAF nationwide maritime quiz, especially for the girl child,” she said.
She pointed out that maritime was male-dominated, so NIWA intentionally encouraged the girl child to come onboard, dedicating 80 per cent to girls and 20 per cent to boys.
Williams said for the selection process, 20 schools were invited, ten public and ten private schools on Lagos Island for proximity and they brought their 250 wards.
“They were streamlined by the examiners and ten schools qualified for the semi-final, and in a short, while we will have the winners who will be compensated by NIWA,” she said.
Williams said NIWA had challenged other parastatals on the need for a succession plan, as getting the young ones early would ensure that when one echelon of the maritime system disengaged, the gap would be filled.
Mr Abiodun Oladunjoye, Director of Education/Principal, Eko Akete Senior Grammar School, commended NIWA and OAF for tapping children from the grassroots and arousing their interest in the maritime world.
He said this would expose them to various options of careers outside the conventional line, and other professions in the maritime industry.
“Most of them have not seen the potential and prospect of Lagos Island even though most of them are born there.
“With this programme, they have been exposed to dreaming of a career of being a maritime lawyer, or doctor in the industry.
“I see the zeal in them and we should put our hands together to see that it continues,” he said.
The newsmen report that the event witnessed the unveiling of a maritime career chart that was presented to each school that participated.
In another development, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Kaduna Area Command, has pledged to provide scholarships to students in the Kabala area of Kaduna as part of its corporate social responsibility.
The Customs Area Controller, Yakubu Salihu, made the pledge during a meeting with members of the community on Wednesday.
He said that the scholarship grant would be offered to deserving pupils from the community, who were enrolled into the Customs Primary School.
He said that the gesture was to deepen existing cordial relationships with members of the community, which has been host to the Area Command for decades.
Salihu recalled that the Customs Area Command had in the past offered scholarship grants to some students in the area and presented relief materials to some families in the community.
He added that the Nigeria Customs Service would also employ youths into the service as was done in the past, to enhance the cordial relationship between them.
The controller appreciated the support of the community to the service and urged them to maintain and strengthen it.
According to him, the interface with the community members will continue so as to address any issue that might come up.
Responding, the Village Head of Kabala Doki, Malam Danlami Bawa commended the Controller for convening the meeting to enhance better synergy between them.
He appreciated the command for its various interventions in the community including the scholarship grant and employment of some youths into the customs Service.
Similarly, Malam Aliyu Abdurrahman, Village Head of Kabala Costain said the Nigeria Customs Service has been participating in their town hall meetings, employing their sons and providing security to the area.
Also, Malam Abdullahi Yunusa, Chief Imam of Kabala Costain Jumu’ah Mosque, said though the meeting was the first between the command and members of the community, the community had benefited from its various interventions in the past.
Malam Abdullahi Auwal, the Chief Imam Guest Inn Jumu’ah Mosque, said the community members would do their best to improve their relationship with the Area Command, adding that the meeting should be held periodically.
A youth leader, Ibrahim Bashir appreciated the Controller for initiating the forum, while El-Abbas Muhammad, Commander of the Coalition of Civilian Joint Task Force, pledged to work with the Customs command to enhance security in the area.
“My men are working tirelessly within and around Kabala to maintain law and order and we are working hand in hand with Kaduna Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service,” he added.