Nigeria is a blessed country with a great resources, man powers and full of intelligent people. But still it seems there’s something wrong in putting all of the above in use as required.
Between the year 2013 to 2019, it was recalled that over more than 90 pirates attacks on merchant ships, boats and hundreds of illegal bunkerings within Nigerian water ways was recorded. One may ask where are the security agencies such as Nigerian Navy, private security agencies, NIMASA etc?. Well the simple answer is they are all working, getting paid and ranking high.
However, what about the common Nigerian seamen and newly graduated once? Also the answer is they are unpaid (the minimum naria promised them), trekking from Apapa port to Port Harcourt rivers in search of jobs at sea and sea experience to begin with.
Since Nigeria was blacklisted by international maritime organisation (IMO), thought authorities has been working to whitelist the country’s flag license again in other to gain recognise by other maritime nations. But still corruptions that leads the country into blacklisted remains the key illness that holds the recovery.
How pirates and illegal bunkerings multiples in West African countries.
An experimental study was carried out by putting a rat into a difficult track cage, while keeping food on the top most part of the cage. The experiment was to know if the rat becomes hungry, could his brain work more to recognise proper way to reach the food. After several days, hungry pushes the rat to think hard, use all it takes to get the food to survive.
If an animal can act to survive, how much more the humans? The crimes in Nigerian waters can equally relate to the example above.
Less paid and Unpaid salary
Even with the laws and guides on “Legal Issues in Maritime Labour and Seafarers Claims.pdf”, still no solutions to get all ship owners to pay seafarers the little salary, or even help the trainee’s to join the job in proper ways.
In 2014 the international transport workers federation (ITF), collected over $59.5M in unpaid seafarers wages in Europe and Asia, but what about the ITF officers in West Africa, they are all corrupted and no one to speak for the poor seafarers.
One thing always link to another, in 2015 some crews of five Filipino, two Nigerian and four Bangladeshi seafarers were arrested on their vessel by the Nigerian Navy for illegal bunkerings, the owner and management abound them in prison without no payment of wages since some of the crews was new and never knew the type of operations the vessel was into.
In other maritime nations, there are standard of salaries for officers and crews. But here in Nigeria, ship managements and owners make their own scale and Nigerian seamen and women has no options than to take it, hoping for a day to have an improvement. Base on all these things, those who has no choice to wait or manage the situations now have to find the fastest way to get food to their table.
NIMASA Eligibility difficulty
In other hands, for a young Nigerian without no connections, brother, sister, uncles, etc. Who work in NIMASA, it’s very difficult to even gain eligibility to seat for a courses in Nigerian Maritime academy, Oron. Not withstanding, admission also require JAMB, and a lot of corruption processes start levels degree. Well one may think that makes it standard and well recognized by other international communities. No, it isn’t. The only options it provides is to create opportunities for the unfit and without no one to get haired into piracy operations and target those that has people on top.
To get issues solve, there’s need to trace the causes and prevent them from spreading. Give your citizens what is required for living and they will surely respect the laws and regulations guiding the lands.
The best can still come out from the worst and the worst can become very worst. It all depends on how we handles them.
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Note: the author opinions and comments are no way in connection to MOI team editors. We allow seafarers to share their experiences and opinions no matter the country your are from.
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