Prototype of Proposed Maritime University
The Proposed Maritime University of Nigeria is getting closer to reality as the Nigerian Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill establishing it into law. The Bill would now have to be passed by the House of Representatives as it requires concurrence legislation before it is assented to by the President.
The bill in the senate was sponsored by James Manager, the senator representing Delta State. The senate committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND also submitted its report in favour of establishing the university and this report was adopted by the senate.
Cadets of a Maritime University
The Maritime University of Nigeria was first proposed by the former Good luck Administration in 2014. The school is situated at the Okerenkoko in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State and the groundbreaking ceremony of the proposed school was done by the former President Good luck Jonathan in the same year.
However, curiously the school foundation was laid and buildings put up in the site even when the school was not legally established as there was no enabling law backing the institution.
The present government of Muhammadu Buhari had to return back to the national assembly to initiate the process of establishing the school legally. It is, therefore, astonishing that the proposed school is getting its statutory status three years after its foundation was laid.
Physical Structures already Built at the Site of the University
It would be recalled that the present Buhari government courted controversy over the establishment of the school when there was an open disagreement between two of its ministers over the need for the school. The present Minister of Transport Mr. Rotimti Amaechi had fired the salvo in 2016 by claiming that the proposed university was a “misplacement of priority” and a” waste of resources”.
He had further questioned the alleged payment of N13billion by the then Jonathan-led federal government to a popular militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, a.k.a Tompolo for the procurement of the site of the school.
However, this vituperation was rebuffed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Dr. Ibe Kachukwu. Declaring his Support for the establishment of the school in the heart of the Niger Delta, kachikwu declare” Any facility located in the Niger Delta should be developed and supported notwithstanding the circumstances under which it was made. “
“So much physical assets are being developed. We are not going to throw away the baby with bath water. We must develop the university while at the same time dealing with the issues,” Kachikwu argued.
Proponents of the Maritime University including indigenous players in the Nigerian Maritime Industry have supported its establishment arguing that Nigeria lacked capable manpower necessary for driving the growth and development of the sector. A University for this sector will help to bridge this gap, provide trained and educated local workforce and conserve the nation’s scarce foreign exchange presently lost to the expatriate’s employees who are currently dominating the Nigerian maritime sector.