• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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UK body approves N800m grant for Nigeria to build a seafarers’ centre

FG, UN partner on development of marine resources

The International Transport Workers’ Federation of the United Kingdom (ITF-UK) has approved a grant of over N800 million for Nigeria to build a Seafarers’ Recreation Centre.

The grant was given to Nigeria through the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), in partnership with the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Katie Higginbottom, head of ITF Seafarers Trust Fund, announced this during a meeting with Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy, in Lagos over the weekend.

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Higginbottom said the grant was approved after a thorough assessment of Nigeria’s suitability.

In her brief to the Minister, she commended maritime workers and NIMASA for their commitment to seafarers’ wellbeing.

“The center will serve not only Nigerian seafarers but also others in the West African region and beyond. We have absolute faith and trust in the Adeyanju-led MWUN, and we are very pleased with Jamoh and his team at NIMASA for their enthusiasm towards seafarers’ welfare.

“MWUN has built up its credibility within the ITF family and we are pleased to partner with them and NIMASA on this project. The grant approval process endured three years of rigorous assessment and we are satisfied that it is safe to invest in the Nigerian maritime industry. Our visit to Nigeria is for site inspection so the project can commence, Higginbottom said.

On his part, Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy, appreciated the International Transport Workers’ Federation for trusting Nigeria with Direct Foreign Fund Investment in the country with an assurance that it will be judiciously used, and the Ministry will ensure NIMASA fulfils its obligations to the project.

“Seafarers are the real drivers of the maritime industry. They sacrifice a lot for human existence, spending most of their time away from family and onboard vessels. So, creating this opportunity for social interaction is encouraging and commendable.

“I commend your decision to personally come to Nigeria and see things for yourself. It shows that you are committed to the project. To ensure judicious use of your grant, I want to assure you that the Nigerian government will ensure the project is completed in record time,” he assured.

He said the grant will be put to use as expected and that the Federal Government through the Ministry will closely monitor the project.

Also speaking, Bashir Jamoh, director general of NIMASA, said the Agency under the supervision of the Ministry, is committed to continuously investing in the well-being of seafarers.

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“We at NIMASA welcome this project and we consider it as a major infrastructural capital development for seafarers’ welfare, hence we keyed into it. It will go a long way in improving the mental health of seafarers and assist their social integration having spent much of their time out there on the sea.

“I am pleased that our challenge to MWUN some years ago is bearing positive fruits. This is a result of the constant engagement sessions we always have with Adeyanju, who believes in dialogue. Since our Minister has sanctioned this project, I can assure you that NIMASA will meet its obligations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Adewale Adeyanju said the quest to better the lot of seafarers informed their decision to seek funding from the United Kingdom-based ITF.

The International Transport Workers Federation of UK which has the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria as one of its affiliates approved a grant to partly fund the building of a Seafarers Recreation Center in Nigeria.

When completed, the Center will serve as a rallying point for in-country and regional seafarers and those onboard vessels during port calls, who desire to disembark and savour the warmth of Nigerians.