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Maritime: President wants more women professionals to boost economy- Aisha Buhari

  • … Dakuku calls on men to support women achieve objective

    Wife of the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo in a photograph with seafarers during the 2019 celebration of the Day of the Seafarer held in Lagos.

Nigeria’s First Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari, has disclosed
that President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to provide platforms that will
encourage more women’s participation in maritime to boost economic development.

The President’s wife stated this on Tuesday in Lagos
at an event to mark the 2019 Day of the Seafarer, with the theme, “On board
with gender equality.”

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) chose
the theme, which resonates with its theme for this year’s World Maritime Day,
to highlight the contributions of women in the maritime industry and encourage
more women to go into the profession of sea transportation. 

Dr. Buhari said there was need to promote gender
balancing in the seafaring career, adding that the President is aware of the
economic benefits that come with encouraging the female gender in the maritime

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, spoke in a
similar vein, saying the men should support women, especially in maritime,
“towards reaching their potential and navigating work place challenges.” 
This was just as President of the World
Maritime University (WMU), Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, applauded Nigeria’s
effort to encourage more female professionals in the maritime industry.

The First Lady, who was represented by the wife of the
Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, commended NIMASA’s efforts to promote and
encourage women in the maritime sector. She noted that such was in line with
the President’s aspirations for the sector.   

According to her, “Under the current leadership of
NIMASA, we have seen significant strides aimed at making women active players
in the blue economy industry. Mr. President is desirous of seeing more women
play active role in the maritime industry. This celebration focusing on women
seafarers is, therefore, apt.” 

She called on “all government agencies, especially
those in the maritime sector, to ensure the achievement of the United Nations’
Sustainable Development Goal 5, which is aimed at attaining gender equality and
the empowerment of all women and girls.”

The NIMASA DG, speaking further, called on men to
provide the needed support for women to participate actively in the maritime

“We hope to sensitise the industry operators and players on the
significance as well as economic importance of bridging gender inequality and
the need for men to support women towards reaching their potential and
navigating workplace challenges For us to have more women at sea and onshore,
the men have a major role to play in terms of providing the needed support.”

He further added that the Agency would continue to
pursue policies and programmes that will accelerate gender equality and
empowerment of women in the maritime sector.

“In addition to the 304 female cadets we have trained
in seafaring since the inception of the Nigerian Seafarers Development
Programme (NSDP), greater attention will now be given to the training of female
seafarers in specialised courses and areas to enable them take up professional
responsibilities in specialised vessels and offshore operations, and maritime
sector generally,” Dakuku said.

On the New Cabotage Compliance Strategy (NCCS) that
suspends waivers on Cabotage manning, Dakuku disclosed that placement of women
on board vessels would be given high priority, with greater attention also given
to providing an enabling environment for female seafarers.

He disclosed that the Agency had already recorded
success through the NCCS initiative with about 7,000 Nigerians employed by
ship-owners between 2018 and the first quarter of 2019.

He said the Agency was doing everything in its powers
to resolve the issue of armed robbery and piracy at sea.
In his address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal
Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari, said the Federal Government had
initiated policy reviews aimed at promoting gender equality, empowering women
in the maritime sector, and creating conducive work environment for them in
line with the SDGs.

The WMU President, in his goodwill message to Nigeria
on the occasion of the Day of Seafarers, said, “Nigeria is one of our
long-standing partners that has provided funds for our fellowships and we want
to encourage them to continue.

Under the MoU with NIMASA, as well as the support
provided by the Nigerian Ports Authority, today, we have 199 WMU alumni from
Nigeria, of which 31 are women. About half of these Nigerian female graduates
were funded by the government. The rest received funding from other sources and
other WMU partners.”

The event was attended by many stakeholders,
including Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Alhaji Hassan Bello;
Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman,
who was represented by NPA’s Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Dr.
Sokonte Davies; Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Commodore Duja
Effedua; Director, Maritime Safety and Security, Federal Ministry of
Transportation, Mr. Danjuma Dauda; and renowned maritime lawyer, Mr. Emeka

Prominent Nigerian women in maritime also graced
the occasion. They included Director-General of the Nigerian Chamber of
Shipping (NSC), Mrs. Obiageli Obi, and Chairperson, Nigerian Shipownwers Forum,
Mrs. Margret Orakwusi, all of who called for more support for the female gender
in the maritime career.

In attendance also were members of the NIMASA Governing
Board, led by the Chairman, Gen. Jonathan India Garba, and members of the Executive

The Day of the Seafarer is celebrated all over the
world on June 25 every year following the resolution adopted by the 2010
diplomatic conference in Manila, Philippines, in line with the International
Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for
Seafarers (STCW Convention).

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted
“On Board with Gender Equality” as the main campaign theme to celebrate the
2019 Day of the Seafarer, which echoes IMO’s theme for the 2019 World Maritime Day,
and coincides with the disposition of NIMASA as a gender-sensitive

It is expected that throughout 2019 there should be a
strong emphasis in the maritime space on the importance and value of women
within the professional ranks, a campaign driven and targeted at empowering
women in the maritime community with the hope of having a strong and
far-reaching resonance.

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