By Shola Fadeyi
Hajia Bola Muse, President WIMA, Nigeria
Women in Maritime Africa(WIMA), Nigeria has promised that it would collaborate with the Federal Government, to pursue policies and programmes, that will accelerate gender equality and empowerment of women in the maritime sector.
Its National President, Hajia Bola Muse made the pledge in a speech she delivered at the 2019 World maritime Day , with the theme, ‘’Empowering Women In the Maritime Community’’ which held at Eko Hotel , Victoria Island , Lagos.
She said that the WIMA, Nigeria would also want the policies to extend to the area of improved welfare packages and working conditions for seafarers in line with the provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) , 2006.
According to her , it is important that government engages stakeholders in the sector to design measures and modalities for the engagement of more women in shipping activities and other areas within the Maritime sector’s workforce.
Muse said that on the part of the WIMA, Nigeria it has lined up a lot of programmes to encourage effective participation of girls and women in the maritime sector , adding that it looked forward to the support of the Transportation Ministry and other maritime agencies in achieving its noble objectives.
She disclosed that the WIMA Nigeria was delighted that the Federal Government is encouraging and motivating women to take up careers in Shipping and Allied professions.
According to her, ‘’In line with the United Nations sustainable development goals, the theme beams a searchlight on this very important factor that is still not utilised. One of the objectives of WIMAfrica Nigeria, is to promote national, international and regional collaboration amongst Maritime Organisations.
‘’For a solid sustainable succession plan, it has become imperative for women, especially the upcoming generation, to foster careers within the maritime sector, so as to promote and achieve gender equality.
‘’It may astound you to know that only 9.3% female are registered in the Nigerian Seafarers’ register. Allow me to astound you further that globally, women seafarers are just a faction of 2%, thereby creating an urgent need for the shipping community to bridge the gender gap.
‘’Also a total of 304 female cadets were trained in seafaring since the inception of the National Seafarers Development Programme, of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and an urgent attention will be given by NIMASA for more women to be trained in specialised courses to enable them qualify professionally, in handling special vessels and off shore operations in the Maritime sector generally’’, Muse said..
Muse stated that though everyone is informed of the great role, the Federal Government is playing to remedy the inequality in the maritime sector, she added that the above statistics that are unfavourable to the females have called for more of women participation in the maritime sector.
She said WIMA Nigeria will also leverage on the young girls who have interest in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to look into fostering a career in shipping, maritime, operations and engineering sub-sector adding that this will afford it the opportunity to have a thriving sector and a good succession plan.
The WIMA , Nigeria President applauded Muhammadu Buhari for its determination in seeing more women enrolled in the Maritime industry, as well as lauded the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki for their great strides in the maritime sector .
She also also commended the Chief Executive of all Maritime Agencies, comprising the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the Managing Director of Nigerian Port Authorities,(NPA), Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman; and the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council,(NSC), Mr Hassan Bello.
Muse also lauded the contributions of WIMA, Nigeria’a Sister Associations, Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association, (WISTA Nigeria), and Women in Logistics and Transportation, (WiLAT Nigeria), in jointly enhancing women’s participation in Maritime, Shipping and Allied Sectors.