The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has urged women to refocus their agenda to achieve gender equality in the maritime sector.
Peterside stated this when members of the Women International Maritime Africa (WIMAFRICA) visited him at NIMASA's headquarters in Lagos.
He said there is need to recognise efforts being made by women and their participation in African maritime sector.
"Presently, people acknowledged that the responsibility also lies with women to entrench and assert themselves as deserving role-players and to ensure an increase in women participation in the sector," he said.
Peterside, who was represented by Executive Director, Finance and Administration, NIMASA, Mr. Bashir Jamoh said that there was no doubt that many women had been performing brilliantly in NIMASA.
"We have a lot of women who are heading various departments in NIMASA
and they are performing diligently even better than some of their male counterparts. I will urge your association to encourage more women to choose career in maritime because if we have intelligent women, then we can talk of gender equality.
"The agency is working on sea-time training and as soon as we finalise it, qualified cadets will be given the opportunity to enable them to get jobs and compete with their counterparts from other countries," he said.
He said that he would look into the proposal of the association and determine what the organisation could do to assist and encourage more women in maritime industry.
In her speech, the President of WIMAFRICA, Nigerian Chapter, Mrs. Jean Chiazor-Anishere, pleaded with the agency to support the association to achieve its mandate of empowering women in the riverine areas.
"We intend to buy fishing equipment to some fisher women in Makoko area in Lagos, Delta, Port-Harcourt, Lokoja and other areas where women engage in fishing as a profession. We also want the agency to consider our members for foreign trips to enable them to have exposure like their counterparts from other African countries.
We will not like to seek for sponsorship at all times and that is why we are requesting that the agency should consider some of our members as consultants. We have women of more than 30 years experiences in maritime industry such as ship chandlers, maritime lawyers, maritime administrators and so on," Chiazor-Anishere said.
She said that the collaboration would assist NIMASA to achieve its mission statement as well as improve gender equality in the maritime industry.
Chiazor-Anishere emphasised the need to engage trained cadets on sea time experience to enable them to go on board and increase the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through tax.