There are strong indications that the collaboration sought from International Maritime Organisation (IMO) by the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi for the upgrade of Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron into degree awarding institution may have sealed the fate of Maritime University of Nigeria, Okerenkoko, TRANSPORT & MARITIME ONLINE has learnt.
The Minister of Transportation had at different fora stated that the federal government will no longer continue with the building of the University initiated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) because the country already has a maritime academy and a transport technology institution.
He said the government is also not convinced that the Nigerian Maritime University is well situated as it thinks that many parents would not want to send their children to the university situated in the heart of the creeks in Delta State.
Amaechi said, “We are not going ahead with the university project proposed by the NIMASA because we have a maritime institution in Oron. We have the Nigeria Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria, and we have the Nigerian College of Aviation, Zaria, which we could upgrade to a university status; yet the NIMASA is proposing to build a new one.
“Who will attend the university? How many parents will allow their children to go to the proposed site of the university? What is the aim of the university that we cannot achieve in Oron where they have all the necessary infrastructure?
“I don’t think we are proceeding with the university being proposed by the NIMASA because it is a waste of resources.
Unfortunately, a lot of money had already been released for the university project even though there is no structure on ground but just the feasibility study. Whoever is holding onto the money should better return it. The Chinese company contracted confirmed that only the feasibility study is in place.”
But, the last straw that break the camel’s back was the recent call by the Minister called for greater Technical Cooperation from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) with a view to reviewing programmes and curriculum of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron to upgrade to a maritime University.
The Minister said the collaboration would allow the academy comply with the 2010 amendments to STCW and support to secure seatime training for the graduates of the Academy.
Amaechi also requested for technical advice in converting the Academy to a degree awarding institution and greater involvement of the IMO in building capacities of the Academy’s instructors.
Moreover, the minister also expressed Nigeria’s commitment for greater collaboration with the IMO for the sustainable development of the Nigerian maritime industry.
The Hon. Minister said this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Secretary General of the IMO Mr. Kitack Lim in London recently.
Hon. Amaechi who expressed the appreciation of Nigeria for the Technical Assistance the country has benefitted from the IMO also called for more cooperation in the areas of combating piracy and maritime education.
He informed the IMO Secretary General that “Nigeria has already put in place action plans and initiatives through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for the implementation of the code of conduct entered into by the Heads of States and Governments of ECOWAS, ECCAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission on the fight against piracy, sea robbery and other maritime crimes.”
Stressing the government’s determination to make Nigeria’s sea ports safer for international trade, the Minister said the security assessment checklist of the International Ship and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code are continually receiving adequate attention by both NIMASA and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
He also assured the IMO scribe that the findings and observations of the recently concluded IMO Member States Audit Scheme (IMSAS) of Nigeria “is being studied with a view to preparing and implementing Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) within the stipulated time frame”.
Responding, the IMO Scribe, Mr. Kitack Lim commended Nigeria for its commitment towards meeting the obligations of the IMO and other International Organisations.
The Secretary General promised assured the Hon. Minister of the cooperation of the IMO in the areas of continuous training in Maritime Security, Search and Rescue (SAR), Port State Control (PSC) and capacity building for Instructors of MAN Oron.
While noting that sea time training has become a global concern, Mr. Lim said that the IMO would reach out to shipping companies towards engaging the Academy’s cadets on board vessels.
The Hon. Minister was accompanied to the IMO by the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside and Nigeria’s Alternate Permanent Representative to the IMO, Mr. Diko Bala.