…Says Only 2% of Women Currently Onboard Vessels At Sea
…Pledges One Quarter of NSDP Training to Women
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Bashir Jamoh has charged women in the Nigerian maritime industry to take full advantage of the potentials in the sector in order to better themselves.
Dr Jamoh stated this at the celebration of the International Women’s Day (IWD 2023) which was commemorated at the agency’s headquarters in Apapa Lagos on Wednesday
The United Nations (UN) theme for the 2023 IWD is; “Digital Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”
Dr Jamoh noted that gender equality is non-negotiable, as it ensures increase in productivity and economic growth.
According to him, there is still a gender imbalance in the maritime industry because as at today, only two percent of women are onboard vessels out there at sea.
He urged Nigerian women in maritime sector to take advantage of various opportunities including the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) disbursement, ship ownership, jetty ownership, among others
“At NIMASA, we can level the playing field and we are doing that, we have made sure that our women are not push overs. Today, there are not less than 10 female Directors and head of units in NIMASA
“Women must empower themselves through collaboration and support for one another, and take full advantage of the opportunities within the sector.
Take for example, the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) where we have so many men today struggling to be part of the few resources given us and to appropriate portions of it to themselves, women can equally be part of the shipowners by venturing into the issue of the CVFF Fund.
“Women should not be shy to explore participation in major projects in the maritime industry like establishment of jetties, purchase of vessels and other associated services related to the industry.
“As for the NIMASA women, I want to use this opportunity to assure you of management commitment to your career growth and development.
We want our women to excel in their careers and use technology to advance the maritime sector” Dr Jamoh stated
He charged the NIMASA head of training to come with various capacity building recommendations, tailored towards helping the women in other areas and field within the limit of the agency’s resources.
Speaking further, Dr Jamoh said “NIMASA has gone far in creating a level playing ground for women, the agency is very sensitive about gender balancing in sending cadets to trainings abroad.
“I would like to state that from today, NIMASA would ensure that whatever number we are sending on international long term training, women must have not less than two slots minimum.
“On the issue of NSDP scholarship, we would never dare send NSDP students without taking consideration of one quarter of women into the sponsorship program.
The DG directed the admin and personnel services department should seat down and structure a concept note on mentorship and the cost implication for approval.
Speaking earlier, President of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA Nigeria) Mrs Eunice Ezeoke called for innovative solutions to help women and girls to establish and become enterpreneurs and agents of positive change for resilient, sustainable, inclusive development.
According to her, the strategic development of women and girls is key to ending child marriages and other negative vices, biasses and stereotypes.
Also speaking, former Director of Special Duties at NIMASA, Hajia Lami Tumaka who joined the meeting online, said that embracing equality can only be achievable through training and retraining of women and creation of gender policies.
She called for inclusiveness for women, saying that “What a man can do, a woman can do better, what we ask for is inclusiveness, I am happy that the DG of NIMASA has created an environment of inclusiveness for the women”
“What do we want to see or do with this inclusiveness? We want to see more women in leadership positions and politics, like I always say, it would not just be given to you freely, we have to grab it and be part of them” she stated
President of Women in Maritime (WIMA Nigeria) Mrs Rollens Mcfoy urged women to strive harder to work up the ladder.
“In anything you do, try to be the best, be studios, be eager to learn, be humble and come out with a good professional attitude and integrity, without this you cannot excel. We need to work up the ladder” she said
Mrs Funmi Folorunsho, Secretary General of African Shipowners Association commended NIMASA Director General, Dr Bashir Jamoh for ensuring promotion of four female Directors in NIMASA.
Mrs Folorunsho encouraged the NIMASA DG to groom new faces to take over from the older women who are aging.
Speaking, she said “The world is no longer analogue, let’s embrace technology, it’s not until documents are sent hardcopy to NIMASA before it can be treated. If the present women don’t do the right thing, the door will close against future women in maritime, we must mentor younger women”
On her part, frontline shipowner and Chairman of Morbod Group, Barr Margaret Orakwusi also commended the NIMASA DG for supporting women in the maritime sector, especially as it concerns individual and collective projects.
She advocated for the creation of a “NIMASA Mentor Day” in order to encourage the young professionals coming up in the Sector, both men and Women.
Other women who spoke at the event include; Founder, Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF), Hon. Violet Williams; Founder, African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMESI), Dr. Felicia Mogo; among others.
NIMASA’s Director of Internal Audit, Mrs Olamide Odusanya delivered the seminar paper titled; Women Embracing Technology in the 21st Century”
According to her, there are billions of girls who are waiting to change the world but they need access to proper education and opportunities.
While urging women in the industry to embrace technology in all they do in the workplace, she called on the management of NIMASA to also adopt technology by automating its administrative and operational processes.
Odusanya also called on the agency’s management to think of allowing flexible working condition that allows workers including male and female to work from home rather than spent quality man-hour on traffic congestion.