A ship captain, Afred Oniye, has said that over 70 per cent of Nigerian seafarers do not have jobs
Oniye, who said this in an event to mark the 2022 World Seafarers Day in Lagos recently, explained that before the introduction of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Program by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, the figures were above that.
He accused NIMASA of adding to the high rate of unemployment among seafarers by training them outside the country without giving them commensurate jobs.
“We have over 70 per cent of Nigerian seafarers that are jobless. Before NIMASA started their NSDP programme to take Nigerians out to train them, we already had 70 per cent that were jobless. Now, NIMASA added to it by training more seafarers outside the country and they are claiming that they have trained more than 3000, but they have not given jobs to even five per cent of the number. So, they have added to the problem on ground. I heard NIMASA saying that they have given jobs to 800 of them and I am challenging them that it is not true. If they say they have given them jobs, they should publish their names and the companies they work with.”
Oniye said that Nigerian seafarers were competent enough to build and man vessels even as he urged the Federal Government to ensure full enforcement of the Cabotage Law to mandate vessels on Nigerian waters to have Nigerian seafarers on board.
He said enforcing the law would help 50 per cent of Nigerian seafarers to gain employment.
“So, we are saying, ‘enforce that law that any vessels on Nigerian waters should be Nigerian and not foreign.’ If we enforce that, I bet you, over 50 per cent of Nigerian seafarers will have jobs. We have the Cabotage Act that says the ship must be built in Nigeria, manned by Nigerians and crewed by Nigerians. Even if the ship was not built in Nigeria, at least it must be manned by Nigerians. I don’t see why we can’t start building ships here. We have all it takes. We have foreign companies coming to Nigeria to build. We should stop buying ships and they should start building them here.