Governor Gabriel Suswam
Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, has flayed the low involvement of the people of the state, particularly the youths in the maritime sector of the economy.
This is coming on the heels of the discovery that Benue State is one of the most disadvantaged states in the nation's shipping sector.
He expressed regret that the state which widely known as the “food basket of Nigeria” has not been reaping the same bountiful yield in terms of the participation of its indigenes in the Nigerian shipping sector.
According to the governor, the state has only three of its indigenes employed at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), only two at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and only one at the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), Zaria, Kaduna State.
Similarly, the state also has less than three of its indigenes practising as freight forwarders out of over 3,000 practitioners registered by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
The governor stated these at the 7th Annual Shipping Career Summit organised by the Benue State Government and Ships and Ports Communication Company Limited held at the Benue State University, Makurdi.
He said his administration would take necessary steps to correct the poor representation of his state in the maritime agencies.
Suswam, who was represented at the occasion by the state Head of Service, Chief Mike Iordye, said that the state had taken steps to train its indigenes in Nautical Sciences.
He said the state is moving away from being a mere producer to being a processor and exporter of agricultural produce.
Chairman of the Summit and the Registrar/Chief Executive Officer, CRFFN, Mr. Mike Jukwe, decried poor representation of the state in the nation's shipping sector.
He maintained that there was need to address the imbalance to ensure that the people of the state maximize the huge opportunities in the maritime sector of the economy.
Chief Executive Officer of Ships and Ports Communication Limited, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, lauded Suswam for enlisting Benue State indigenes in the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) and for taking steps to actualise resuscitation of Makurdi Port by inauguration of a nine-member committee to oversee the project.