Former NIWA MD, Ezenwa advocates admission of more women in maritime training institutes


… Seeks advocacy in simple, local languages

A former Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa has called on the Federal Ministry of Education to come up with a deliberate policy that would encourage admission of more women to study maritime related courses in the maritime training institutes like the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron and the National Institute of Transport Technology (NITT).

Ezenwa who stated this while fielding questions from journalists on the sidelines of the event to mark the maiden edition of the International Day for Women in Maritime organized by the Women in International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria and the Women in Maritime Africa (WIMA) Nigeria in Lagos on Wednesday argued that they should be able to take in more women and give them more opportunity to learn about the industry.

While insisting that efforts should also be geared towards catching them young especially in secondary schools, she equally advocated for a gender policy through the transport policy that should encourage more women to embrace that course of study.

Even as she acknowledged that it was only through advocacy and reaching out could more women be attracted to take up careers in the industry, she, however admonished women to tune down their grammar as according to her, the grammar they were speaking was too elitist.

She said, “I think we should come down on that grammar and bring it down to their standard. I am an advocate of break it down for some of them to understand the message. So, we should be able to advocate in various languages especially in the local languages of the riverine areas of the litoral areas. We have about eight litoral states in this country and we should be able to go to those women who are constantly fishing, the Ijaw women as well as all kinds of women in that industry and talk to them in their mother tongue.

“It’s also through advocacy, through wealth creation, through clean environment, through the Ogoni Clean Up for instance. Nobody knows what is going on there. Let’s start with that. That will eliminate poverty if we can clean up Ogoni and the people can go back to their farms and can go back to fishing. Let’s start with that Ogoni Clean Up, let’s know what UNEP and co. are doing because we don’t know.

“It’s also important to have an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in the maritime industry. I am not seeing any NGO. I think MMS is trying to bring women to have awareness on what is going on but I think we should do more.”

On her overall rating of the impact of women in maritime industry in Nigeria, she said, “I think there’s a lot, we are coming on.They are making reasonable progress even though we expect them to make more progress than they are making presently. It’s part of the international women’s day theme, “Breaking the Barrier”. So, we hope that the more advocacy we make, women will embrace the numerous opportunities in the maritime sector so that there will be more opportunities for both genders.”

Photo: Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa, former Managing Director, NIWA.

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