By Ifeyinwa Obi
ANigerian aeroplane pilot, Capt. Enisuoh Warredi has charged the Federal Government to levy shipping companies to fund the training of cadets In Nigeria, if the country is not to lag behind, amongst the comity of maritime nations the world over.
He gave the charge in Lagos weekend, stressing the need for training to also adhere strictly to International Maritime Organization IMO and national requirement to guarantee that Nigerians remain universally employable, particularly beyond the shores of the country.
The aeroplane pilot who first qualified as a master mariner, piloting ships before venturing unto air crafts however observed that the Government was yet to emphasize the importance of standard in the production of sea farers in the country, especially those coming out the nationâ€™s Maritime Academy of Nigeria MAN, Oron.
â€œEveryone knows we need a good school. But only a few realize that not only do we need good school we also need an absolute harmonization of all we have, to ensure that what we produce would not be half baked.
â€œIf you go to MAN Oron, you would discover that a lot of people have graduated without seeing a ship. Now, without a ship, there would not be quality certificates; and without such certificates, even if people go in and come out, something would still be lacking; and if anything is lacking, then you have created a vacuum. And that is where we are todayâ€ highlighted Warredi, noting that this was presently the major huddle that the country must over-come before it would optimally harness it shipping potentials.
â€œThe maritime industry is a source of very profitable prospects. Not all countries will ever have a coast line. Nigeria is lucky in this regard.
But how far have tapped from this enviable endowment? We have failed to realize that the world does not change by aviation. The world changes by marine.
So, any country that neglects its marine endowment is making a great mistake.
â€œThere is so much that Nigeria as maritime nation can prosper from. In water, you have fishing activities. You have mineral resources, all of which must be protected. Unfortunately, our borders are still very porous.
â€œNigeria up till now lacks a ship reporting and monitoring system. Without this, the country will continue to lose unimaginable resourcesâ€ stated Warredi, pointing out that while he was in Australia, â€œwe arrested and burn over three ships that came to steal our fish in Australiaâ€.
Lamenting that there had been a very high concentration of attention on crude oil in Nigeria, the mariner turned aviation expert noted that the present lack of ship monitoring systems already created loopholes for foreign ships to regularly come into the country for illegal bunkering, fishing etc.