The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman and the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside yesterday led other maritime experts in a sensitisation programme to some Secondary School girls on career opportunities in the nation’s maritime industry.
The event was the official flag-off of Girls Go-To-Sea Campaign, a pet-project of Face Of Maritime International (FOMI) which took place at Osborne Schools Complex, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Speaking in a lecture titled,”What A Man Can Do, A Woman Can Do Even Better”, the Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman informed the students that there were spaces for women in the maritime industry, adding that even if there was no space, they should create the space themselves. She maintained that gone were the days when the maritime industry was looked upon as men’s world.
Usman reminded them that when they strive to create space for themselves in the maritime industry, they were not doing that only for themselves but for those coming after them just like they who were currently on the stage were doing for young girls who are going to take over from them tomorrow.
“So, don’t be discouraged, when you go for a career in the maritime industry, there are more men than woman in the maritime industry but we are increasing in number and we want you to come and join us.
“As we are leaving, for every stage I leave, I want ten of you to replace me, not one but for every one of us you see here, you are the next generation and being our next generation, we want you to come in larger number. I am here alone, ten of you should replace me, there should be more women in all organization.
“So, you all need to know that you are our successors. You are what we are going to leave behind. In everything you do, we are building blocks for you to come and take over.
“I want you to sustain your commitment to your education, build your confidence, know that there are opportunities in the maritime industry and everywhere. There is no career that they will say it is for the men, any career of your choice, pick it up, be dedicated and be committed, that is your success as a woman”,Usman counseled.
MD, NPA delivering a lecture to the students at the Official flag off of Girls Go-To-Sea Campaign by Face Of Maritime International yesterday at Ikoyi. Seated at the MD’s left hand side are Hajia Bola Muse, CEO of Bomarah Group, Mr Richard Owolabi, Technical Expert to Abuja MOU, and Mrs Taiwo Danso, Council Treasurer, Ikoyi – Obalende LCDA.
Also speaking in a lecture entitled, “Career Opportunities in the Maritime Industry”, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside recalled that last year marked another milestone for women in the shipping/maritime sector to celebrate, particularly as the industry witnessed the first woman Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman.
Peterside who was represented by the Assistant Director, Shipping Development, Mrs. Mary Madu Hamman, reeled out the names of other high profile personalities in the shipping industry to include a one-time Director-General of NIMASA and current Secretary – General of Abuja MOU, Barr Mrs. Mfom Usoro, the current President of WISTA who is also a Director at NIMASA, Mrs. Mary Hamman, and Mrs. Funke Agbor, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Others are Barr. Margaret Orakwusi, Chairperson of Ship Owners Forum, Ms Funmi Folorunso, Secretary of African Shipowners Association, Mrs. Uju Ifejika, CEO, Britania Ltd., Mrs. Monica Mbanefo of IMO, Mrs. Ify Akerele, former DG of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping and Mrs. C.O.F Ezenwa, former DG NIWA, among others.
“Therefore, it is important at this juncture to encourage you to rise up against all odds that would make you not to become a celebrated woman of success in shipping. It is not only in law, medicine and other fields that success can be achieved, you could be more exceptional by taking this brilliant and great opportunity in the shipping sector. Maritime careers are very profitable and rewarding,” Peterside stated.
Speaking further, the NIMASA boss classified career options in the maritime industry into two categories, namely; seafaring and shore based professionals.
He described the seafaring professionals as those who carry out their jobs on board ships viz; deck officers, engineers and stewards, whereas shore based professionals are those who operate from the shore like those in operations and general administration such as shipping companies, ship brokers/insurers, ship builders/naval architects, fleet managers, marine risk management expert, shipping analysts, accountants, lawyers, lecturers and others.
He continued,” Now that you know the career opportunities in shipping, it is also important for you to be aware of the requirements to be able to apply for any of the two careers as indicated.
“To become a deck officer, one must study nautical sciences in any accredited maritime university or academy. All you need to apply for the maritime university or academy is the following subjects; mathematics, physics, chemistry, geography and English.
“To also become an engineer, you need to study marine engineering in any accredited maritime university or academy. These are some of the basic requirements needed to be part of the maritime community and future leaders in the industry.
“I have no doubt as a parent/teacher that choosing a career in this industry would be a unique opportunity for all of you. We hope to read about your successes and achievements some day in this enviable industry”, he said.
On his part, the representative of Mrs. Mfom Usoro, Secretary-General of Abuja MOU, Mr. Richard Owolabi, Technical Expert to Abuja MOU recalled that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) with headquarters in London, United Kingdom which is an agency of the United Nations and is in-charge of regulating international shipping had encouraged them to ensure that every young lady who is taking up a career at sea should be encouraged.
According to him,”It is not only going to sea, you can be a manager to a shipping company and as a Managing Director who is here, she is a Chief Executive of a maritime organization. So, the avenue is very robust for you, not only going to sea as a marine engineer, as a nautical scientist, technician onboard ship but as an administrator in the maritime industry. So, you are very welcome and I want to encourage you as much as possible to take part and take a career at sea”.
Earlier in her opening speech, the crowned Face of Maritime International, Miss Greatest-Love Uwadiale, pointed out that the Girls Go-To-Sea Campaign which is her pet-project is a catch them young campaign programme targeted at Nigerian girls with a view to sensitizing and encouraging Secondary school girls to take up careers in the maritime industry.
L-R : HOD Environment, Ikoyi-Obalende Local Council Development Area – Mrs. Oladaye, HOD Education, Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA- Mrs. Folake Ajayi, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, MD, NPA and Hajia Bola Muse, Governor of Women In ANLCA yesterday at Osborne School Complex Ikoyi while the NPA was addressing students.
In her words, “We didn’t invite any male students into this hall because we all know that they always like to feel that they are the boss in any way. This programme is basically to prove them wrong on that opinion. This programme is for us to educate you that what a man can do, we can also do better especially in the maritime industry.
“So, I hope this programme will educate you girls and you girls will pay attention to what we have to tell you people and also listen attentively and ask questions about things you don’t understand”, she said.
Also in his initial remarks, the CEO of Platforms Communications and Founder of Face Of Maritime International, Mr Sylvanus Obasi disclosed that the Girls Go-To-Sea Campaign (GGOTSEC) is a nation – wide project which requires the FOMI queens and GGOTSEC team to visit public and private secondary schools across the Federation for the purpose of raising awareness that maritime is not only for men.
He assured that with the official flag off, the team would take the campaign to other parts of the country, especially the littoral states when it is through with Lagos state.
Other Dignitaries present at the event included; the Managing Director of Bomarah Group and Governor of Women in Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hajia Bola Muse, HOD Environment, Ikoyi-Obalende Local Council Development Area – Mrs. Oladaye, HOD Education, Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA- Mrs. Folake Ajayi, The Council Treasurer – Mrs Taiwo Danso, The Clerk of the House – Mrs Banjo and the representative of the Tutor – General, Permanent Secretary, Education District 3 – Mrs Alebiosu, amongst others.