The minister of transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, has flagged off the third phase of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), sending off 200 new Cadets to sea, while graduating the returnees from phase two.
Speaking at the flag-off event organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), on Friday in Lagos, Amaechi urged the cadets, who are setting sail to Greece, India and Philippines to be of good behaviour and represent Nigeria well.
He advised those who did not get hired overseas at the end of their sea time training to return to the country and contribute to the nation’s development, as opportunities are gradually opening up for them in Nigeria.
“For those who are leaving, please do not embarrass the country. You are not just ambassadors of NIMASA, you are ambassadors of Nigeria. You have to be of utmost behaviour. You have to study and pass your exams.
“There are so many youths who want this opportunity that you have. It means that you must show NIMASA that they did not make any mistake in choosing you. After training, some of you will be hired overseas, the ones that are not hired overseas, please come back to the country. This country is changing in time. You will see the changes as you come. It won’t be easy, it’s difficult, but the changes are coming gradually,” he said.
The minister also called on NIMASA to consider training institutions in Nigeria when sending cadets for sea time, as there are some with such capacity.
The director general of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, in his opening remarks, stated that the agency was constantly working to ensure that its maritime education and training meet international standards.
“The training you will receive will put you in global shipping quarters. Be good ambassadors of Nigeria, and remember that you are expected to show returns on this huge national investment,” he told the cadets.
On his part, the chairman of NIMASA, Asita Honourable Asita, expressed pride that the NSDP will make an impact in the Nigerian maritime sector.
He tasked participants to do well as ambassadors which will in turn inspire more Nigerian youths to participate in the maritime sector, assuring that the programme will help fill the unemployment gap in the country.