By John Ikani
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) on Monday graduated a batch of 20 young Nigerians at the Nigerian Navy Underwater Warfare School, Navy Town, Ojo, Lagos State.
The programme held in partnership with the Nigerian Navy and Mieka Dive Training Institute (MDTI) marked the end of a five-month commercial air dive training programme organised by the Board for the trainees certificated as Class-I and Class-II divers.
Speaking at the close-out ceremony, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote disclosed that the rapid expansion of the Nigerian offshore industry with more oilfield development taking place in the deep offshore basin has necessitated aggressive skills development to support strategic projects, some of which are already running and others, expected to come on stream in the near future.
The Executive Secretary also stated that the professional diving industry in Nigeria is currently dominated by foreigners, which is what the training seeks to address.
He emphasised that the Board is tasked with the mandate of developing Nigerian Content in the oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors while prioritising human capital development for areas with identified gaps of skilled and qualified citizens.
Engr. Wabote expressed profound appreciation to the Nigerian Navy and Mieka Dive Institute for the impeccable arrangements and high safety ethics imbibed by trainers and trainees alike that made the program hugely successful, without any untoward incident.
On the significance of what the participants accomplished through the training, the Nigerian Content Chieftain noted that their newly acquired skills and knowledge have made them assets in line with the Board’s strategic objective of developing an industry skill pool of qualified Class-I and Class-II divers.
He charged the trainees to put in hard work and urged that they continuously develop and upscale their skills and certifications to meet the demands of the global industry as the future is bright for those who are willing.
In his remarks, the Special Guest of Honour and Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Naval Training Command, Lagos, Rear Admiral Patrick Nwatu represented by the Commandant, NNS Quorra, Cmdr. Adamu Yahaya thanked both consultants and trainees for the successful completion of the extensive study and rigorous diving training designed to transform the trainees into professional air divers.
Rear Admiral Nwatu commended the graduates for their discipline, hard work, determination and excellence and enjoined them to extol these values in their future pursuits.
He narrated that the Nigerian Navy signed a joint venture agreement with Mieka Dive Limited to conduct commercial air diving training at the Underwater Warfare School and has trained its personnel since its inception in 2011.
The FOC indicated that the graduates who are the fourth batch of air divers trained in the facility are products of the collaboration, and thanked the Chief of Naval Staff for his visionary and unflinching support for the school while recognising the commitment of the NCDMB for sponsoring the training and promised that the Navy will continue to provide the needed support for the courses.
He congratulated the graduates and enjoined them to use the knowledge gained during the training, judiciously.
Welcoming participants to the close-out ceremony, the Commanding Officer of the Underwater Warfare School, Commander Ibrahim Adewuyi maintained that during the training, the graduates were exposed to classroom lectures and practical diving operations despite the numerous challenges faced by the school during the period.
Commander Adewuyi expressed delight that these challenges were currently receiving necessary attention to be addressed in due course. He implored the graduates to be good ambassadors of the school and prayed for them to excel as they began their commercial diving careers.
At the presentation of certificates and awards, William Godsgift emerged as Best Student at Practicals; while Animiuworio Direla took home the Best Behaved Student Award. Others were Edemu Anthonia who won Best Student with an average score of 83%, while the Overall Best Student with a total average score of 85.6% is Aladdin John.
Prior to the five-month duration of the training, graduates had undergone a rigorous selection process to qualify for the training and had drills, classroom lectures, practical sessions, and group activities.
The high point of the close-out ceremony was a live demonstration of commercial air diving by a cross-section of the graduates who simulated dive competence training in a 30-metre inshore surface tanker with the use of self-contained underwater diving apparatus, and associated devices which is a criterion by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) fulfilled by the trainees to be issued certificates.