As part of efforts to commemorate the International Women’s Day (IWD) and empower Nigerian women in seafaring, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will henceforth reserve a minimum of one-quarter of its training opportunities under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) for women.
The Director General of the NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR, revealed this while speaking at 2023 IWD celebration today at the agency’s headquarters in Lagos.
Dr. Jamoh observed that despite wide publicity about the need for gender balance and equality only 2 percent of global seafarers are women, thus he asserted that more women should be encouraged in the profession and the new reservation for women is NIMASA’s commitment to the goal.
Meanwhile, the NIMASA boss advised women groups in the industry like; the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria and Women in Maritime (WIMA) Nigeria, to seek to play more critical roles in developing the sector and also in empowering themselves.
“It’s not enough for the women groups to congregate only to ask for supports and undertake smaller projects in the sector. You can play a more significant role in developing the sector. Women can also be part of the ship-owners who will benefit from the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF). You can invest in jetties, purchase cargo vessels or ferries,” he said.
Jamoh delightfully noted that the agency has 10 female Directors and Heads of Units, stressing that their appointments have ushered in notable improvements and productivity across the respective departments and units.
He, however, clarified that none of the NIMASA female Directors had been appointed on the basis of gender balance and equity; but solely on account of their competence and merit having possessed the skillsets required in the various capacities.
While assuring women at NIMASA of the management’s support for their career growth and development, he said that for internal staff trainings some slots will be reserved for women at the agency.
Speaking earlier, the Chairperson of Nigerian Ship-owners Forum, Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi proposed that the maritime industry should set aside a day for mentorship in a bid to curb the gap in skillsets and position the younger generation to achieve exploits in the sector.
Orakwusi, who is also the Chief Executive of Morbod Group, thanked the NIMASA Director General and the agency’s management for prioritizing the IWD celebration annually and also for creating an ambience for several women excel.
She averred that NIMASA-sponsored trainings for members of staff have seen women beneficiaries reach the peak of their maritime careers with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) recognizing them; even as the new skillsets lead to novel opportunities after exiting NIMASA.
While presenting a paper at the event, the Director of Internal Audit at NIMASA, Mrs. Olamide Odusanya harped on the need for digitalization and innovation, encouraging women to prioritize their personal development.
On her part, the pioneer President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Funmi Folorunsho extolled NIMASA’s growth over the years especially in the area of opportunities for women, stressing that 4 female Directors at the agency is worth celebrating.
She, however, harped on the need to provide a succession plan via younger women that should be groomed to take over from the maritime amazons in future.
The event was graced by top women in the nation’s shipping sector, with the President, WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke; President, WIMA Nigeria, Mrs. Rollens Macfoy; Founder, Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF), Hon. Violet Williams; Founder, African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMESI), Dr. Felicia Mogo; among others.