From left: President General, MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju; Executive Director Operations, NIMASA, Engr. Fatai Adeyemi; DG NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, OFR; Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, CON; Head, International Transport Workers Federation ITF Seafarers Trust, Katie Higginbottom; ITF’s Francophone Coordinator, Bayla Sow; ITF Seafarers’ Trust, Grant Manager, Luca Tommasi and Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, NIMASA, Jibril Abba during a meeting with the Minister in Lagos at the weekend.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation UK has approved a grant to Nigeria through the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN, to build a Seafarers’ recreation centre in partnership with the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.

Head, ITF Seafarers Trust Fund, Katie Higginbottom, who announced this during a meeting with the Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy Adegboyega Oyetola CON, in Lagos over the weekend, noted that the grant was approved after a thorough assessment of Nigeria’s suitability.

While briefing the Honourable Minister, she commended MWUN and NIMASA for their commitment to Seafarers’ wellbeing.

“The centre will serve not only Nigerian seafarers, but also others in the West African sub-region and beyond”. We have absolute faith and trust in the Comrade Adeyanju- led MWUN and we are very pleased with Dr Jamoh and his team at NIMASA for their enthusiasm towards Seafarers welfare. “MWUN has built up their credibility within the ITF family and we are pleased to partner 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.

Meanwhile, the Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, CON, has appreciated the ITF for trusting Nigeria with Direct Foreign Fund Investment in the country with an assurance that it will be judiciously utilised and the Ministry will ensure NIMASA fulfils her own obligations to the project.

The Minister said: “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 on board 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.  The fact that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, established a standalone Ministry for the maritime industry shows Nigeria’s commitment to making the country a major maritime nation. I wish to assure you that the grant will be put to use as expected. The Federal Government through our Ministry will closely monitor the project. I commend the DG NIMASA, Dr Jamoh and the MWUN President General Comrade Adeyanju for their vision and effort.”

The DG NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who also spoke during the meeting, restated the commitment of the Agency, under the supervision of the Ministry, to continuously invest in the well-being of Seafarers.

“We at NIMASA welcome this project wholeheartedly. We consider this project 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 Seas.

“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 Comrade Adeyanju, who believes in dialogue.” Since our Minister has sanctioned this project, “I can assure you that NIMASA will meet its obligations”, Jamoh said.

President- General of MWUN, Comrade Adeyanju in his brief remarks, noted that the quest to better the lot of the Seafarers informed their decision to seek funding from the United Kingdom based ITF. The PG said: “The DG NIMASA approached me some time ago challenging us to do something for seafarers. We took up the challenge, but considering the current financial situation in the country, we sought a grant from ITF. We are very happy with NIMASA for all they have been doing.”

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN, is one of the affiliates of the International Transport Workers Federation UK, which approved the grant to partly fund the building of a Seafarers Recreation Centre in Nigeria. When completed, the Seafarers Recreational Centre will serve as a rallying point for in-country and Regional Seafarers and those on board vessels during port calls, who desire to disembark and savour the warmth of Nigeria.