The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, has pledged his country’s readiness to provide the needed support to Nigerian seafarers in its drive to further deepen the India-Nigeria relations and economic ties.
Thakur made the pledge at the Mission to Seafarers Lagos Symposium, titled, ‘Maritime industry and development of Nigeria – Connecting with our heritage’, where he was represented by the Head of Chancery at the commission, Rachit Rawat.
He said India would support seafarers in the areas of training, facility support and other logistics as a major maritime player in the global economy.
Chairman, MTS Lagos, Adebayo Sarumi, described seafarers as central to global economic development.
He lamented the failure of many nations to classify seafarers as essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These individuals, even though they are extremely essential workers in the entire world, are not treated with the amount of respect, the amount of consideration, the amount of care that should go to such people who keep the entire world economy running,” Sarumi said.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Commissioner for Transportation, Frederic Oladeinde, said the state would synergise and cooperate with all stakeholders in the maritime sector to boost regional integration and national development to generate wealth and employment for the benefit of Lagosians and the country at large.
Towards realising the vision of efficient regional integration and infrastructure growth, there is an urgent need for us as a government to address the needs and challenges of developing a virile maritime sector that will boost socioeconomic growth and development for the benefit of our people and regional integration of countries that are landlocked,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Oladunni Odu, said the maritime sector with its critical role to the economy had not been given the needed attention.
He said the state was taking the lead role in developing the maritime industry with the establishment of ‘Port Ondo’, a deep sea port project of the state government to drive maritime development and support activities ongoing at Apapa and Tincan ports.
The Secretary General, MTS International, Andrew Rights, who emphasised the importance of seafarers, said if they downed tools for a week or two, the impacts on the global economy would be catastrophic.
“One of the great scandals of our time has been the refusal of many countries to see seafarers as essential workers. This is made exceptionally difficult during the pandemic,” Rights said.
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