Stakeholders in the maritime industry have warned that with over 70% of Nigerian seafarers out of job, there could be an increase in piracy attacks in the nation’s waters.
Stakeholders gave the warning during the Day of Seafarers, with the Secretary General of Merchant Seafarers Association of Nigeria, Captain Alfred Oniye, said the base line for insecurity on the nation’s waters is unemployment of seafarers, noting that when the government trains people to be professionals and does not give them jobs, they turn to attacking vessels.
As he explained “piracy is tactical, it is not a battle you can fight with guns and fighting jets. You want to fight people you took out of job who are professionals, it takes a powerful and professional navigator to know where the ship is anchored and positioned before they can attack. It takes a good underwater welder to know how to go to the sea and burst the pipe; it is a professional game.”
He also added that Nigeria should enforce the Cabotage law that mandates vessels sailing within Nigerian waters to be owned by Nigerians, not foreigners dominating its waters.
If this is enforced, over 50% of Nigerians would have jobs, even as he called on NIMASA and the ministry of transportation to provide an enabling environment for the building of ships and one that would attract investors.