By Godfrey Bivbere, Eguono Odjegba & Ebuka Oko
LAGOS — FIRST Lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, yesterday, said that active participation of women in the maritime industry will help achieve the nation’s desire to grow the Blue Economy.
This came as stakeholders expressed concern over low participation of women in the nation’s maritime industry compared to global ratings.
Represented by the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo during the World’s Seafarers Day 2019, with the theme: On Board with Gender Equality held in Lagos, the First Lady explained that the Federal Government is committed to increasing women’s presence in the industry in order to plays active roles in the leading maritime sub-sectors, particularly seafaring.
She commended the efforts of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, for its onerous effort in promoting the seafaring gender-sensitive by recognising more women seafarers in the maritime sector.
She said: “We have seen significant strides aimed at making women active players in the blue economy industry. The President is desirous of seeing more women play active role in the maritime industry.
“The celebration focusing on women’s seafarer’s is therefore apt. This year’s day of seafarers, built around gender equality, is in tandem with the federal government’s initiative for job creation. I like to thank NIMASA for encouraging women to grow their presence in seafaring and to play active role in the blue economy.
“I am encouraged that NIMASA and other government agencies are leading the sensitisation for women to desist from the perception that maritime industry is for men. So, the current focus to get women to become ship owners and drivers in critical core maritime operations is a good policy and equal opportunity for both male and female seafarers.”
In his opening address, the Director General, DG, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that the agency believes that empowering women will spur economic growth, and enhance the nation’s cabotage trade.
Peterside said: “There is a strong compliance for women participation in Nigeria as we celebrate the global seafaring in Nigeria.
“NIMASA will continue to develop policies that demand equal representation and the elimination of gender gap.
“We believe that empowering women will enhance government development goals, therefore, NIMASA will continue to give more women increased exposure to be able to participate more in seafaring.
“We believe that the more roles women has in the industry will also enhance our Cabotage trade.”
Similar, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Hassan Bello, said “As a country, we have the responsibility to call for action, to eliminate gender imbalance in seafaring.
“We need a deliberate policy to achieve this and that is why 35 percent of the Transit Truck Park, TTP, workforce must be women.
“Therefore, women must go to the nautical college and universities to get maritime education to be empowered. The involvement of our women in manning of vessels will contribute to the national GDP.”