Expert seeks upgrade of maritime institutions to stop capital flight

A Maritime Expert, Capt. Fola Ojutalayo, has called for the upgrade of Nigerian maritime training institutions to reduce capital flight incurred on foreign training of cadets.

Ojutalayo, a Senior Lecturer at the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Lagos, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the local maritime institutions could offer the required training if well equipped.
``Why is it that we cannot develop our institutions here in Nigeria; upgrade them to the level where we can sponsor these people.
`` Let them go to these institutions, get their training and right there in the industry they go and practice?
``Why should we send them abroad? What is it that they are doing there that we cannot do here? So, is still the same problem of human capacity development and systems’ problem?
``You can imagine all those trainings they are sponsoring them for are being paid for, is not free. That is capital flight.
``If they use the money, pump them judiciously with all commitments into the maritime institutions in Nigeria.
``You have the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron; you have the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology; both of them are Federal Government institutions. Why can’t we upgrade them? ”
Ojutalayo expressed doubts about possible job provision for the number of cadets currently on NIMASA’s foreign seafarers’ programme in maritime institutions in several countries.
``The issue of training, like what NIMASA is doing now. The people they are training basically now are young seafarers who are newly coming into the industry.
``Although, is a laudable feat by them; I still have some reservation concerning that as well. The reason is because, is like a misplaced priority.
``You are training young seafarers to go and work on ships; you are training them in thousands; I don’t think they are less than 2,000 that NIMASA has sent out for now.
``By the time they finish in the next two, three, four years, where are they going to be working?
``What is the size, the capacity of ships that we have in Nigeria that will accommodate these people? ‘’
Ojutalayo advised that those who had acquired professional skills in seamanship should not be left to roam the streets jobless.
He said this could expose the unemployed to a lot of risks like wanting to become sea pirates.