The Chief Inspector of Diving (CID), Mr Julius Ugwala, has restated his commitment to ensuring the engagement of competent indigenous divers while also allowing expatriates to thrive in areas Nigeria has little or no capacity.
This followed a recent outburst by expatriate divers alleging that the Diving Advisory Board as well as the CID are primarily focused on ridding Nigerian waters of foreigners.
Mr. Julius Ugwala who took to LinkedIn to make a formal response stated that in line with the Local Content Act, competent Nigerians are to be accorded the first right of refusal and where such skills are unavailable incountry, expats would do the job.
Noting that the Act spells out that vessels trading on Nigerian waters must employ at least 70 per cent of indigenous people, Ugwala noted that the call for employment of locals is necessary to spur the growth in the sector.
His words, “it will be unfair to have competent Nigerians sit at home while other nationals work on our territorial waters. That will be injustice, he said.”
Ugwala added that his advocacy for employment of competent local divers does not imply an outright dismissal of foreigners as the industry is large enough to accommodate all as long as competent Nigerians are given the opportunity to work.
“ The industry is way too big and Nigerians alone can’t fill the gaps. It will take some time before we become fully dependent on ourselves. However, only a careless mother abandons her own children to feed those of others first.
“I am sure you’d agree that competent Nigerian divers have a place in the sector and should be employed. Expats too have their place but not at the expense of competent indigenous divers or the growth of the sector,” the CID said.