The Lagos State Government says it paid N47 million to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for the training of 24 state indigenes as seafarers.
Dr Tola Kasali, the state Commissioner for Special Duties, said in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos that the amount represented the state government’s 60 per cent counterpart fund.
The statement said Kasali made this known at a farewell for youths drawn from 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas of the state.
The commissioner said that the money was paid to NIMASA under the “Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme” to train the youth.
The commissioner said the youth who qualified for the training were made up of 15 males and nine females, adding that each of them was not more than 23 years old.
Kasali said that the state government supported the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme to address the challenges posed by the insufficient number of seafarers.
“This is particularly as it affects the future of the Nigerian maritime industry and the desire to create a new crop of skilled, competent seamen required by the industry.
“Moreso, as Lagos is a thriving coastal state and mega city, the government must begin to build capacity of the youth in diverse areas of developments.
“This will in turn assist and encourage the teeming youth population constructively in areas that will contribute to the growth of the state and the country at large,’’ Kasali said.
He said that the programme would have a multiplier effect on the economy, through employment of officer and ratings to be trained under the scheme.
Retired Maj. Tunde Panox, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security Matters, advised the trainees not to let the state down.
He said that they were the first set to be sponsored for such a programme since the creation of the state and must do the state proud.
Panox urged them to put in their best and work as a team in any capacity they might find themselves.
Dr Aderemi Desalu, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Special Duties, urged them to concentrate on the programme, which would last four years.
“It is a period that could make or mar your future,” he said.
Mr Samuel Adebayo, one of the beneficiaries, from Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area, thanked Gov. Babatunde Fashola and others that contributed to their selection for the programme.
He pledged, on behalf of others, that they would not disappoint the state.
“If there is any prize to be won at the end of the programme, the state contingent would emerge the best,” he assured the governor.