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AMES president seeks maritime manpower development policy in Nigeria

President of the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES), Engr.  Israel Obadan, has called for policy ensuring manpower development in the maritime industry.

Obadan spoke on Friday in Lagos, on the side-lines of the inauguration of the new executives of AMES, where he is serving as President.

Speaking, Obadan tasked government to be purposeful in such policy aimed at meeting increasing manpower needs of the industry.

He said: “What we do at our stage is mentorship, because there is really no concrete maritime manpower development policy that is put in place by government.

“We are trying to give back, because we found out that the younger marine engineers did not have similar opportunities for scholarship and support that we had. And I limit this to political leadership problem. So, we mentor and encourage them. Among us, someone like Engr. Greg has ships. And those who can give employment do so. We just do the much we can to encourage them.”

Obadan recalled that in his own younger days as a student, government had good policies that supported citizens to access education on a scholarship, a strategy that encouraged almost every child to attend school.

“I keep referring to our time. Like I am talking to you, I have never paid school fees in my life. If you read my profile, I have never. And you want to ask why? It is because, before now, governments, even the Military, had in place educational policies that supported every child’s education.

“First of all, they start with the brilliant students; like me, my primary school was through Awolowo free primary education, which I attended in the 1950s. After that, I went to secondary school in Benin City, Mid-west State. At that time, Samuel Ogbemudia was the governor and he had in place a scholarship programme to be awarded to mid-west state students.”

He said government also had checks in place to ensure transparency from the time of applying till when names of successful candidates were published they went for oral interview.

According to the AMES president, the effort was replicated at all levels of government and supported college students too, a structure that enabled his college education to study mechanical engineering and eventually marine engineering. He added that the opportunity also gave them full employment.

He said: “So, I did marine engineering after I finished studying mechanical engineering from Auchi Polytechnic. Again, federal government advertised for sponsorship and it took us 10 years from when we were employed. We were taken to the UK and were being paid salary. It wasn’t allowance. So, some of us were training their younger ones in school. The money is still there, but only few people are able to access it.”

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