Be good Ambassadors of Nigeria, justify massive investment in you, Sambo charges NSDP beneficiaries


…As NIMASA DG recounts successes recorded so far

The Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has advised the beneficiaries of the Nigerian Seafarers’ Development Programme, NSDP to be good ambassadors of the nation and justify the massive investment in them by the federal government.

Sambo who offered this advice in a keynote address to mark the flag off ceremony of the 3rd phase of NSDP ‘Christened “NSDP-TERRA II’’ in Lagos at the weekend, reminded the beneficiaries that the programme was a rare opportunity that was highly sought after by their peers which providence had placed on them and must be guarded jealously for the development and benefit of the nation.

He informed them that the federal government would continually monitor their progress in the programme and would not hesitate to discipline the recalcitrant ones among them.

“I urge you all to eschew drugs and any conduct that will portray the nation in bad light”, the Minister advised.

Speaking on the background of the NSDP, the Minister stated that the collapse of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL), no doubt created a gap in the manpower development of the shipping industry in Nigeria especially in the area of shipboard training and manning adding that the implementation of the coastal and inland shipping policy increased the demand for Nigerian seafarers which as at that time was in gross shortage.

“In addressing the aforementioned shortfall, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and NIMASA midwifed the Nigerian Seafarers’ Development Programme (NSDP) in 2008. The programme as an intervention, was designed to train Nigerian youths to become seafarers. The choice of foreign Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs) was mainly based on capacity and certification of the Institutions in the area of maritime training (STCW) by IMO.

“The initiative targeted training globally competitive officers that will erase the unfortunate discrimination that exists between local and foreign trained officers in practice. However, efforts are ongoing in the area of upgrading local Maritime Training Institutions to enable them take up the NSDP trainings in the near future”, he assured.

Noting that the NSDP had so far been a success story and had further advanced the human capacity development programme of the Federal Government, Sambo said, “As stated in the Director General’s address, the NSDP from inception in 2008 has trained over 2,000 students in Marine Engineering, Nautical Science and Naval Architecture of which many are now gainfully employed and sailing on both coastal and international vessels. The presence of these officers is a further testament to the fact that the programme is a success.

“I have been made to understand that the programme had produced a female tugboat captain in the person of Canus Ebinipre Robinson and several Deck mates and 2nd Engineers currently sailing in both coastal and international vessels. The NLNG has in the meantime employed more than 44 of NSDP officers and still counting. This is quite commendable and calls for more concerted efforts towards ensuring that the NSDP graduates are gainfully employed.

“The success of this laudable policy cannot be overemphasized, therefore the Federal Ministry of Transportation will continue to encourage and partner with NIMASA on NSDP and other policies on the development of a sustainable maritime based economy (Blue Economy).

“Hence, the Ministry explicitly gave its nod on the expansion of the Programme by another set of 435 new students to be recruited into the NSDP. The flag off of the 3rd phase of NSDP ‘’Christened NSDP-TERRA’’ marks another milestone in the development of manpower in line with the Federal Government policy on youth empowerment.”

He, thereafter, commended the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA), for the giant strides so far made in the area of human capital development of the maritime sector.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh recalled that the programme was designed to train Nigerian youths up to Degree level in Marine Engineering, Nautical Sciences and Naval Architecture in some of the best Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs) abroad and to position them to compete effectively in the global Maritime Industry.

Jamoh revealed that from inception to 2020, the programme had enrolled 2,041 students, while 892 were now licensed deck and engine officers including naval Architects noting that the rest were in their final stage of the programme. “It may please the Minister to know that about 486 of the graduates are now gainfully employed and sailing in both coastal and ocean going vessels”, he added.

He explained that the Agency and the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT), satisfied with the above success and the need to drive the policy of the Federal Government on youths empowerment to a laudable height, approved the expansion of the programme by 435 new intakes (christened NSDP TERRA).

“While implementing this, we took into account of the encumbrances encountered in the operations of the programme in the last 12 years and ways of eliminating or minimizing them. These include: a) Consideration of a recruitment plan that selects the best candidates into the NSDP (b ) Spreading beneficiaries across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria (c) Introducing a Code of Conduct for all beneficiaries enrolled into the programme to safeguard the image of the country (e) Selection of Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs) that offers the three training elements of the programme (shore-based training, shipboard training and the certificate of competency), this is to eliminate the long delay in securing sea time training berths that was experienced with the previous set of students.

“In addition, NIMASA comparatively got the most reasonable cost for the training and in countries of mutual recognition of CoC with Nigeria. In the mean time, we have recruited 400 new students into the programme and secured admission in two reputable MTIs in Greece and India”, he said.

The NIMASA DG added that the flag off ceremony of third phase of NSDP programme for the first batch was held on Friday, 29th October, 2021 at 81, Division Officer’s Mess, Onikan Lagos insisting that the above development was acknowledged and applauded by the then Honourable Minister of Transport and other maritime stakeholders during the flag off ceremony.

“It is our delight to inform you that some of the students are already in school and are doing very well while others are being prepared to travel”, he added.

To the cadets, he said, “As you set sail, we make but only one demand of you – that you never lose sight of the mission of this voyage; avoid the foreign distractions that can cause a shipwreck to your budding careers and dedicate yourselves to the completion of your education so that your country’s huge investment will not be in vain. This is an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Photo: From 3rd left: Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani; Honourable Minister of Transportation, Engineer Muazu Jaji Sambo; Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR and Cadets of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) during the sent-forth ceremony for 235 beneficiaries of the programme christened NSDP phase 3, TERRA II in Lagos.

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