Mkpoikana Udoma 13 July 2015, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – Maritime industry stakeholders are calling on the Federal Government to commence efforts towards the take-off of the proposed N2 billion Maritime Training Institute in Obuama community, Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The institution approved by the former President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as part of his transformation agenda was aimed at ending the trend of training ex-militants and other Nigerians from travelling to overseas to acquire maritime training.
But since after the approval, and defence of the project before the National Assembly during deliberations on the 2014 appropriation budget, nothing visible seems to be happening till today.
A cross section of stakeholders who spoke with SweetcrudeReports in Port Harcourt said since after the announcement, nothing had been heard about the project and called on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure its take-off, considering its importance to the citizenry.
A speed boat operator, Mr Benibo Hanson, said the institution when operational would enable the youths acquire maritime knowledge and improve the lives and activities of those already in the business.
“Many youths are roaming the streets because of lack of job, but with the maritime school, most of them will have something to do after attending the school and acquiring for them to attend as it is in the state”, Hanson maintained as he appealed to the Federal Government to facilitate its take-off.
Another maritime stakeholder, Comrade Dan Egbe, is of the view that if the institute is eventually established, it would be a great help to the teeming unemployed public to go and acquire skill on maritime industry and be engaged meaningfully.
Egbe said Rivers State truly deserved such institution because of its terrain, pointing out that it is a welcomed development.
Okonko Solomon noted that the Maritime Institute in the state would help bring development to the Obuama Community as well as qualified personnel that could man sea-going vessels, stressing that maritime sector is currently a hub of economic sub-sector in the country, and also enjoined the Federal Government not to hesitate over its take-off.
In his own comment, Ezekiel Halliday, a marine engineer, is of the opinion that the issue of the Maritime Training Institute should not be politicised as its potentials and benefits to the generality of the public is unquantifiable.
Halliday said Rivers State, with its geographical location is due for such an institution and called for its immediate take-off.
It would be recalled that the former Presidential Adviser on the Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku disclosed the approval and establishment of the Maritime Training Institution in Rivers State as part of the presidential amnesty package for the people of Niger Delta.
Kuku had said the institute when established would admit about 500 students at a time, with hostels to accommodate the students, staff quarters and that the institute could metamorphose to become a university or tertiary institution in time to come, adding that the Federal Government had approved N2 billion for the take-off of the institution