The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, has challenged women in the Maritime Industry to work together to improve leadership opportunities in the sector.
Bala-Usman made the plea when the executives of the Women in Maritime Africa (WIMAfrica) paid a courtesy visit to the NPA Headquarters in Lagos on Wednesday.
According to her, women are in a disadvantaged group. “Everywhere we are, we are in minority. So, we need to work together within ourselves to see how we can help and support each other,” she said.
She said there was need to collaborate to improve leadership opportunities for women.
“I want to encourage you and support you in any way I can. I will like to congratulate you on some of the achievements your association has made within the shorted period of time.
“I will tell you not to rest on your oars. You need to continue and the Nigerian Ports Authority will be willing to support you,” Bala-Usman said.
She said there was need to forge ahead with what needed to be done to recognise women’s role in the maritime industry.
Bala-Usman said being an ambassador of women in NPA, as well as her personal self, she would the association.
Earlier, the President of WIMAfrica, Nigeria Branch, Hajia Bola Muse, commended the positive impact the present administration of NPA had on the maritime industry.
Muse said the WIMAfrica was a platform for training, capacity building, cooperate and entrepreneurial development of African women in the maritime sector.
She said WIMAfrica was established in Luanda, Angola on March 25, 2015 to encourage women to develop a continental platform for women in Africa.
Musa said that the establishment of the body was a direct response to a request by Dr Nkosazana Diamini-Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC).
“WIMAfrica Nigeria is a chapter of WIMAfrica, which adopted the maritime strategy 2050 to contribute to the building of Africa’s Blue Economy.
“Between 2017 and 2018, we have formally registered the association and got recognition at the Ministry of Transportation, the National Assembly and other national bodies.
“WIMAfrica Nigeria has empowered women in Makoko fishing community in Lagos by donating giant ovens for fish processing and preservation.
“We participated in the international activities by providing community service during g the World Ocean Day, while we donated cleaning materials to encourage others to keep our ocean areas clean,” said Musa.
She pleaded with the managing director of NPA to encourage female staff of the authority to join the association to enable them improve women mentorship in the maritime sector.