Forum tasks Lagos Govt on maritime related scholarship for indigenes

Citing urgent need to acquire knowledge and skills in maritime and oil related disciplines, the just concluded All Nigerian Maritime Journalists Retreat has advised the Lagos State Government to establish special scholarship scheme for Badagry and other  indigenes at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron and other approved maritime training institutions.
  A communiqué issued at the end of the maiden event organised by the  Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) between November 9th and 11th at Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Topo, Badagry, urged the Federal and State Governments to attach more importance to maritime training in the country.
  Signed by President of AMJON, Ismail Aniemu and Chairman, Planing Committee, Paul Ogbuokiri, communiqué explained that beyond spending so much to send some youths abroad, Government  “should show determination to procure a training ship for the Maritime Academy of Nigeria to avoid making the entire training undertaken by youths at the academy a waste without the mandatory 12 to 18 months sea time experience”.
 The communiqué also emphasized need for intra government synergy among agencies of government to work together despite their inter ministerial divides to fully maximize the benefits of the emerging port and oil & gas infrastructure.
  The retreat attracted over 130 participants drawn from the public and private sectors including members of the host community for the port and oil & gas exploration.
It featured paper presentations by experts and agencies of government; group discussions and guided visit to the slave museum which emphasised the rich maritime history of the town.
 Paper presentations were made by Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA),Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS),Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron and National Inland Waterways Authority.
  Other paper presentations were made by Rear Admiral Godswill Ombo (Rtd),Chairman Education Advisory Board of Certified Institute of Shipping; Lucky Amiwero, President National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) and Mr. Sam Egube, an expert in the oil and gas sector.
“All stakeholders in the Badagry Port project need to meet and be more open in transactions to immediately commence work on the project. This is to forestall a situation where development of the proposed port will remain in the realm of projection for over a decade like the Ibaka Deep Seaport in Akwa Ibom State that is yet to commence more than ten years after it was conceptualized;
“The Federal Government should declare an emergency to ensure that all Nigerian bound cargoes are shipped into the country through Nigerian ports. This move will not only attract thousands of investment, it will also provide millions of direct and indirect jobs for unemployed Nigerians;
“Companies involved in Greenfield Port Development projects should establish cordial interface with members of their host communities and pursue amicable relationship to avoid litigation and other forms of schisms that may threaten investments and security;
 “Government should build confidence in the host communities of the seaports by avoiding a situation where they suffer neglect and infrastructural and environmental decay for having a money spinning government infrastructure in their domain.
“Government and all stakeholders should ensure and avoid compromising on basic Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in all areas where constructions and explorations are to take place
“There should be inter-modal transport nexus where all future ports development projects are linked to rail lines. The Nigerian Ports Authority’s   25 years port development plan should include linkage with rail lines. This is to forestall traffic problems associated with haulage of cargo by road only causing trucks and tanker vehicles to compete with smaller cars and commercial buses for limited road spaces.
“Government as a matter of urgency and utmost importance consider the human element in the Nigeria Customs Service’s drive to enhance non-oil export revenue, and put the Service at par with similar collecting agencies like the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in terms of reward and remuneration”.
  The 3-day All Nigerian Maritime Journalists Retreat organized by AMJON also commended the Federal Government and other stakeholders for encouraging further Greenfield port development across the country.