The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman has applauded the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for initiating “ON BOARD WITH GENDER EQUALITY’’ campaign
for this year’s Seafarers Day Celebration, just as the First Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari called for increase in women participation in the Nation’s Maritime Sector.
According the Managing Director, with such a programme in place, NIMASA is striving to ensure a gender equality balance in the nation’s maritime Industry.
Speaking through the Executive Director, Marine and Operations of the Authority, Dr. Sekonte Davis at this Seafarer’s Day Celebration, hosted by NIMASA, Hadiza Bala Usman regretted that although gender imbalance is a global problem in the Labor market, “The worst example of this phenomenon exist in the Maritime Community where records from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) indicates that a disheartening 2℅ of the workforce are women”.
The Managing Director also acknowledged the fact that the problem is not limited to Africa alone but also continental due to traditional and religious practices which exclude women from certain career opportunities, saying that “we should go past these sentiments and give our citizens irrespective of gender the best opportunities that life offers them”, she encouraged young girls to take interest in Science, Technology subjects to enable them pursue career in Shipping Marine and Operations etc.
Hadiza Bala Usman, told Seafarers that NPA now grant women maternity leave 16 weeks as against 12 weeks while nursing mothers are also allowed to report to duty one hour after official resumption time and closes one hour before closing as part of encouraging Women. NPA had also commissioned a Crèche Facility for nursing mothers. In her words “we must constantly remind ourselves that women matter and that when we build women, we build humanity”.
The wife of the Vice President, Pastor Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo who represented Her Excellency the First Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari pointed out that she was delighted to be part of this year’s event because of the fact that this year’s theme is centered on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in the Maritime Industry.
More so, she added that the 2019 day of Seafarers provide an opportunity for Government, Ship-Owners and other Maritime Stakeholders to encourage the participation of women in the Maritime Sector. Furthermore, she called on Government Agencies most especially those in the Maritime Sector to ensure the achievement of the United Nation’s sustainable development goal.
Earlier at the event the Director General Mr. Peterside Dakuku welcome guests from various Organizations, Special Guest of Honor and Executives of various Unions who were present, reiterating the fact that women are of paramount important to the Maritime Sector.
The Director General said the Agency will continue to pursue policies and programmes on Gender Equality and Empowerment of women in the Maritime Sector, pointing out that the Agency will put in place sustainable policies that will guarantee equal and fair employment opportunities for both male and female Seafarers.
Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Alhaji Hassan Bello, in his own contributions, stated that Gender Equality provides employment and also promotes the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), pointing out that it is important to create an enabling environment for Women to thrive in seafaring profession, guarantying adequate information, pay equality, and the prohibition of Sexual harassment.