By Stephen Ubanna
Those who think that President
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
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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