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Expert Tasks RSG On Seafarers Dev

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The Rivers State Government has been urged to embrace the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) aimed at enhancing capacity building in the Maritime sector.

The call was made by a maritime expert, Captain John Ibibo, on Tuesday in an exclusive chat with The Tide at the Port Harcourt Port.

He said that the increase in oil and gas activities  in the state which had majority of its operations on sea, made it imperative for the state, like Rivers to look inward and embrace the programme which has evolved three years ago and conceived to bridge  and redress the dearth of seafarers in Nigeria.

Ibibo, who is a seafarer, and captain on board M/V Brass, maintained that 80 per cent of the activities of the oil companies is maritime-based and that people from other states (non-indigene) dominate the sector, because Rivers people lacked the trained manpower to fit in, saying that “we end up in crying out that oil companies are not employing out indigenes, whereas, these are technical jobs that require expertise as regulated by International Maritime Organisation standards”.

According to him, the NSDP which was introduced by the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is meant to enhance capacity building with a view to bridging the gap in manpower deficit in the maritime sector of the economy.

The initiative, he further said was also a scholarship programme aimed at encouraging Nigerian youths to embrace seafaring careers to enhance efficiency in the maritime industry in the country.

Captain Ibibo said that already, seven states, namely Lagos, Kaduna, Niger, Ondo, Ekiti, Kogi and Benue had so far, embraced the programme.

He asserted that the programme initiative was targeted at building capacity for the entire country to fast track economic growth and development within the industry and other sectors of the economy where government could also benefit in terms of revenue generation in the long run.

He enjoined the Rivers State Government to emulate the other seven states already involved  and send more youths on seafarers training so that the indigenes would have better opportunity to work in the sector

Mr Kunle Folarin, the Acting Chairman, Port Consultative Council (PCC), Lagos, says Nigeria has not taken full advantage of its shipping potential in the last 50 years.

Folarin, a shipping economic analyst , said this in an interview with newsmen recently in Lagos.

He said that Nigeria had immense shipping potential that had yet to be harnessed.

He noted that Nigeria was endowed with a large stretch of coastline and contiguous economic zones within the West and Central Africa sub-region.

“We have great maritime  wealth and resources that could translate into Nigeria becoming a powerful maritime state within the sub-region” Folarin said.

He said  that as an import-dependent country, a large number of ships came to Nigeria annually.

“This suggests that we can build human capacity  in marine navigation, marine engineering, naval architecture and other areas like maritime law”, he said.

Folarin expressed concern that indigenous shipping activities were just about three per cent of the total demand for shipping industries such as ship building and ship-yards which could build small crafts and low tonnage ships.

The shipping economist said the “Cabotage Act 2003 makes it mandatory that all ships in the cabotage areas and the nation’s inland waterways should be fully built in Nigeria.

“We must, therefore, look in future to areas where we have  comparative advantage”, he said.

Folarin said that the nation must look at allied industries such as ship building, dry docking and the possibility of manpower development for seafarers.

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Transport

Immigration Steps Up Anti-Touting Vigilance

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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Passports Command, Ikoyi, has increased its surveillance  on touting in a bid to check extortion within its jurisdiction.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with The Tide in Lagos, last Friday, the Immigration Comptroller, Passports Office, Ikoyi, Lagos, Deputy Comptroller Liman A.I , said the negative impact of touting on the nation’s economy would not be allowed to continue under his watch.
He said ,”we are applying persuasion, dialogue and seeking the support of all well meaning stakeholders in this area to spread the anti-touting message and dissuade people from unlawful acts. However, we could apply coercive power as the need arises.
“With the selfless leadership shown by the Comptroller General, Alhaji Mohammed Babandede, we at the PCO, Ikoyi, Lagos, have decided to re-dedicate ourselves to duty and complement the efforts of the CGIS. 
“We are prepared more than ever to wage the anti-miscreants war relentlessly.
Liman assured the general public of friendly environment for legitimate transaction in an effort to strengthen the national economy, warning deviants to shun touting and other related vices.
According to him, “the command has keyed into the various strategies including the use of ICT in gathering of intelligence, among others.
“The service believes that the fight against miscreants within its corridor cannot be undertaken by the service alone, hence our call on Nigerians to partner with us in ensuring that the passport seekers do not patronise touts to defraud them. Our resolve is unshaken and our commitment is total”. 
On her part, the Public Relations Officer of the command, a Deputy Superintendent of Immigration (DSI), Mrs Adetoun Shiyindemi, commended the Deputy Comptroller Liman, for his selfless service, pointing out that he has really given the officers and men of the command a sense of belonging. 
“Since the Comptroller came in, it has been a servant-leader relationship here at Ikoyi PCO and we are all motivated to put in our best with what the CGIS has given us, you will see a new immigration service”, she assured. 

By: NkpemenyieMcdominic, Lagos

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Maritime

Union Urges NIMASA, RSG To Dredge PH/Bonny Jetty

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The Bonny Maritime Transport Association (BMTA) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Rivers State Government to dredge the Port Harcourt/Bonny Jetty to enhance marine operations.
The union said the low shore of the river hampers its operations and grounds boats.
The Marine Safety Officer, BMTA, Comrade Kings Don, who made the call, said the low shore of the jetty was not helpful to marine operations.
According to him, drivers and passengers find it difficult to ply the route whenever the tide is low, thus wasting man hours.
“Sometimes, we push the boat to a level it would afloat due to low tide suffered in the jetty. We are appealing to NIMASA and the state government to assist and dredge the jetty for more efficiency”, he pleaded. 
Don described the Port Harcourt/Bonny Jetty as the gateway to Bonny Island and other riverine communities, and called on NIMASA and the state government to intervene and make the marine sector viable in the area. 
He said that the prompt dredging of the jetty would enhance water transportation in the state and improve its revenue generation.
He, however, commended the security agents, especially the Nigerian Navy and the marine police, for rescuing the waterways and creeks from all forms of criminality.
Comrade Don appealed to the security agents to engage in 24-hour patrol of the routes and other channels to save lives and property.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Boat Mishaps: Ship Owner Blames Absence Of Safety Regulations

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A renowned ship owner in the country, Alhaji Aminu Umar, has decried lack of standardisation and enforcement of safety measures on the nation’s inland waterways by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
He also blamed lack of will to enforce regulations, safety, standard and regulations on overloading, night voyage, rickety and old craft as causes of mishap on the inland waterways.
Alhaji Umar, who is a former president, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), said in Minna, Niger State, recently that enforcement of safety and standard on the nation’s inland waterways was weak.
Reacting to incessant boat mishaps in the country, Umar said, “there is no standard applied on movement of people, as all kinds of boat are being used. It is important that we standardise, because lack of safety and standard will increase accident.
“I think, the task of NIWA is to standardise conditions and procedures on the nation’s waterways”.
He also called for the regulation of movement of badges and passenger boats across the port environment.
“It’s a huge risk allowing badges moving containers around the port area side by side with boats carrying passengers.
“Moving people and containers at the same time is a huge risk, and a safety concern.
“NIWA and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) should see to this and tackle the menace”, he said.

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