Maritime University Bill Scales Second Reading At Senate

The Maritime University site in Okerenkoko
The Maritime University site in Okerenkoko

In spite of strong opposition from the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, a bill for the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University has scaled second reading at the Senate.

The bill which was sponsored by Delta State lawmaker, James Manager, was unanimously supported by the members of the senators after the lead debate by the sponsor.

Recall that former President Goodluck Jonathan had in 2014 performed the groundbreaking ceremony of the university at its proposed site in Okerenkoko, Warri south-West local government area of Delta State.

Also, the current Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, had also acknowledged that physical asset were on site; but there has been no law backing the establishment of the university.

However, Nigeria’s Transportation Minister has vehemently opposed the creation of the university and had on January 19, before the senate committee on maritime, announced that the project has been scrapped.

The Nigerian Maritime University was supposed to be financed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, which is a parastatal under the transport ministry.

Amaechi cited insecurity in the Niger Delta region as among the reasons why the project was scrapped, describing it as “misplacement of priority” as according to him, there were already transport institutes in Zaria and Oron in Kaduna and Akwa Ibom states respectively.

“Who will attend the university?” he queried, “How many parents will allow their children to go to such a place where it proposes to site the university? I do not think we are proceeding with the university proposed by NIMASA because it is a waste of resources.’’

“We are not going ahead with the Maritime University project … because we have an institution (The National Martime Academy) in Oron, we have Nigeria Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria and we have the Nigerian College of Aviation in Zaria, which we could be upgraded to a university status,: Amaechi had said.






     

     

    Again, in June, the Minister said that the university project had taken more than enough money, adding that government lacked the funds to continue with the school.

    He said: “Okerenkoko (Maritime University), I am not against.

    “My argument about Okerenkoko is that land alone is N13 billion. If you give me 13 billion, I will buy the half of Lagos. That 13 billion has built the university already,” he said.

    Amaechi insisted that unless the N13 billion spent on the procurement of the land for the project was retrieved, the project stood scrapped.

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