By Aaron Ossai
House of Representatives yesterday read for a second time a bill seeking the establishment of a Federal Institute for Diving Technology in Delta state in order to stimulate economic development through sea diving.
Short titles of the Bill reads: “A Bill for the Establishment of a Federal Institute for Diving Technology Sokebolou Delta State Charged with the Responsibility to Provide Full-Time Courses in Deep Sea (Ocean) Diving Studies and for Related Matters.”
Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, its sponsor, Hon. Julius Pondi (PDP Delta) said that Nigeria remains an evolving development phenomenon that is always craving and searching to join the league of civilized nations of the world.
He further stated that the Institution is for teaching and research into the theories and practice of diving, adding that diving is a distinct profession in its own right and an exportable human resource for other nations.
According to him, the demographics and availability of professional divers across the West African sub-region puts the region at a clear disadvantage in the global distribution of these personnel.
He had conveyed to the lawmaker that professional and commercial divers have broad-range of employment opportunities in the United States, Mexico, Malaysia, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore and Japan as these countries have a pool of sea divers.
On the location of the institute, the lawmaker said that Sokeboluo in Burutu Local Government Area is an island community that is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.
He also hinted that the community and several others in Ogulagha Kingdom is host to big oil companies and gas industry players such as Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC with tank farms, oil terminals and other facilities.
He informed that some other multinational and indigenous firms in the Ogulagha Kingdom include AGIP, Chevron, Britannia-U, SNEPCO and Oando Plc which own facilities such as crude oil flow stations, oil wells and marginal fields.
The Delta State born lawmaker told his colleagues that what the bill is calling for is standardization and modernization of the practice of deep sea diving with an overall aim to avail the Nigerian populace access to attain basic and the International Maritime Contractors Association (IMCA) approved certifications.
Consequently, majority of members at yesterday’s plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Hon Ahmed Idris Wase unanimously agreed that the bill be read for a second time.
The presiding officer immediately referred the bill which had in early July this year passed through first reading to the relevant Committee of the House for further legislative actions.
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