…urges FG to prioritize maritime advocacy for next generation
As part of efforts to enhance awareness about maritime opportunities whilst building the next crop of elite Nigerian practitioners in the maritime sector, Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) is set to introduce strategic mentorship programmes for secondary school students.
The Founder of OAF, Mrs. Williams Violet revealed this at the Foundation’s 4th Educators & Maritime Stakeholders Lectures & Awards which held in Lagos, yesterday.
She explained that the move is a unique opportunity and part of the Foundation’s catch-them-young strategy that would position the younger generation to be at par with their contemporaries in other nations, boost employment opportunities in Nigeria and curb other societal menace.
Mrs. Williams, however, encouraged the federal government to play a crucial role in ensuring human capital development in the maritime sector for young children in primary and secondary schools.
Her words: “The truth is that Nigeria isn’t ready for these children to take over from the present generation. The nation isn’t ready for the 2030 Blue Economy. However, other nations are adequately preparing their children. South Africa has a robust Blue Economy Ministry just like Madagascar, but in Nigeria it appears that we aren’t there yet. The children that we expect to play a role in the nation’s maritime space by 2030 still don’t know what brown water is about, not to talk of the blue oceans like the Atlantic ocean.”
“Nevertheless, we remain driven to take up this burden of sensitization in the maritime sector. We need the support of key stakeholders as well as the government, especially from the local government level which is closest to the grassroots.”
Meanwhile, she commended Lagos State Government for the recent sensitization programme through the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB) for Primary 5 and 6 school pupils.
“NIWA also partnered OAF in organizing a strategic programme for students in commemoration of the 2022 World Maritime Day in Lagos; while Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has always been very supportive. We want more donors and investors because we’re actually taking off social menace, availing good employment opportunities and ensuring that these young ones are able to explore the rich maritime heritage in West Africa,” she added.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime, who also chaired the occasion, expressed satisfaction at the initiative to incorporate young minds into the industry.
“Today’s event is an opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn various aspects of the maritime sector. I specially congratulate the young students who are award winners and I look forward to seeing them make significant impact in this sector in future,” he said.
Jime, who was represented by a Deputy Director at the Council, Mr. Moses Abere, assured that the NSC would continue to avail financial and other forms of support to the Foundation.
While delivering the lecture, the Vice Chairperson, Commonwealth Business Women Network Nigeria, Mrs. Ngozi Oyewole described Blue Economy as the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and job creation; while preserving the health of ocean ecosystems.
“The participation and representation of women in the blue economy is a driving force for the economic development of our dear country Nigeria in all sectors. It can’t be over emphasised the importance of blue economy as a pillar of Africa’s development and transformation agenda which Nigeria is part of,” she said.
While informing the students that the blue economy includes established ocean industries, such as fisheries, tourism and marine transport, she equally noted emerging activities such as; offshore renewable energy, aquaculture, among others; but she underscored the importance of diligence and hardwork to enable them achieve success in any of the fields.
The event was graced by a former President of Nigerian Fish Trawlers Association and Chief Executive of Morbod Group, Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi; a former Acting Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Chief Executive of Lelook Group, Chief (Mrs.) Chinwe Ezenwa; President of Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), Capt. Tajudeen Alao; a former General Manager at Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and President of the Committee of Friends for Humanity (COFFHA), Chief (Mrs.) Carol Ufere, among others.