The Federal Government and the elite in Nigeria are neglecting the maritime industry because it does not affect their lives directly as the aviation sector, a marine captain and former director of Shipping Development, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Waredi Eniosuoh, has said.
Eniosuoh, who was responding to infrastructural and human capacity development questions at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron in Akwa Ibom State, noted that because most elite use the airlines in their travels, they cannot pay attention to the safety issues.
He further noted that unlike in the aviation sector, the elite may not be involved but the economy continues to suffer every time there is a mishap following their refusal to develop the industry.
He said: "To be honest with you all, if we take the approach in the maritime sector to the aviation sector, we will have a guaranteed return to the killing fields. It is because big people do not die in the maritime sector (only businesses do), that is why everyone is shooting from the hips."
On the situation at MAN, Oron, Eniosuoh who is currently chairman of the Implementation Committee on Agge Deep Sea Port project, noted that a lot of cadets are suffering since they cannot get on board ships after their graduation from the academy.
He noted that most international shipping lines and even those operating in Nigeria do not recognise cadets with Certificates of Competency, CoC, issued by Nigerian maritime institutions.
He called on the leadership of MAN, Oron to focus on engaging professionals that will train the cadets to the standard required by the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, for their CoC to become acceptable.
It will be recalled that the leadership of MAN, Oron headed by Emmanuel Duja Effedua, at the assumption of office 2017, completely changed the face of the institution with the massive infrastructural development and engagement of some professionals to help evolve the content of the curriculum.
He called for the audit of the staff to ensure that the right calibre of staff needed to meet the requirement for recognition of the CoC of the nation's cadets are engaged.