NIMASA: How Peterside Won Buhari’s Heart

By Stephen Ubanna

Those who think that President Muammadu will replace Dakuku Peterside as the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, would be disappointed. This is because Peterside had won the heart of Aisha Buhari, the first lady, for carrying women along  and creating the enabling environment for them to play active role in the nation’s maritime sector.

The First Lady, who was represented by Dolapo Osibanjo, the wife of Yemi Osibanjo, the Vice President, was surprised at the encomiums on the NIMASA  Director General from  maritime operators including  Hadiza Bal Usman, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, at  the celebration  of the 2019 Day of the Seafarers,  lauded him for encouraging  women to become  professional Seafarers through his human Capacity building initiative.

An elated Hajia Buhari had said that  there was need  to further ”promote gender balancing  in the Seafarer Career”, noting that President Muhammadu Buari,  is aware of the economic benefits that come with encouraging  more women participation in the country’s maritime sector.  This is an indication that the Rivers state born  NIMASA boss is secured as he has the backing of the First  Lady.

Dakuku Peterside: DG, NIMASA

Note that the First Lady may have been encouraged to throw her weight behind Peterside , given the recognition of his efforts  in  encouraging  more female professionals into the male dominated maritime industry   by Cleopatra Doumbia Henry, President Maritime University, WMU.

It is not surprising why She called  on other government agencies to ensure the  achievement  of the United Nation’s UN,  Sustainable Development  Goal 5, which  is aimed at  attaining  ”gender  equality and empowerment of  all men and women.

The Seafarers’ Day Celebration may have provided opportunity for  the NIMASA Director General to  reecho  his earlier  appeal to male maritime operators who had established themselves  in the industry   to provide the needed support for their female counterparts in the industry to excel.  ”We hope to sensitize   the Industry operators  and other players  on the significance and economic importance of bridging  gender inequality as well as providing the needed support to have more women at the sea and onshore.

He may have gladdened  the heart of the First Lady, who listened with rapt attention to his  well crafted speech   he would continue to support  female maritime operators   ”towards achieving  their and navigating the industry challenges”.  The First Lady may have waited to hear to extract this promise as she noded in approval.

Hajia Usman , the NPA , boss, may have confirmed the impression of  the nation’s maritime female operators  when she applauded him  for actually initiating ”On Board With Gender Equality” campaign , which was included as the theme for   this year’s Seafarers Celebration . According to her, the policy has gone a long way   to ensure a gender equality  balance in the industry over the last three years.

Seconte Davis,  the Authority Executive Director, Marine and Operations, who had represented  NPA , Managing Director at the one  day event , that attracted people  from all walks of life including the Navy,  however, regretted  ”gender balance  which had  remained  a global problem in the  labour market over the years are gradually been wiped out in Nigeria because of the policy initiative of the government maritime regulatory agency.

 Davis who could not hide his feelings noted that the problem is not only limited to the African labour market  alone   but to  traditional and religious institutions   which exclude women from certain career opportunities.  ”We should go beyond these sentiments. He cited the policy direction in NPA , under  the close watch of Hajia Hadiza, where   management grant women  maternity leave of 16 weeks  or  for months  as against 12 weeks or three months while nursing mothers   are  allowed to   report to duty  one after resumption time and aslso closes one hour before the closing time as part of encouraging them to remain the male dominated Industry.

Maritime watcher believe that  Peterside and Hajia Usman, had made appreciable impact in the last the last three years in encouraging women in the nation’s maritime sector. They averred that if past Chief Executive officers in the two key maritime Administrations had had taken the bold the initiative to do it,  the country  could no longer  have been talking of gender equality but  move a step ahead to have female ship Captains.

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