Don’t scrap maritime varsity, Aginighan appeals to govt

29 January 2016, Port Harcourt – Former Acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Power Ziakede Aginighan has appealed to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi not to scrap the Nigeria Maritime University. .According to Aginighan, scrapping the University has the potential to alter peace in the Niger Delta region.

Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport

Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport

In a statement issued in Port Harcourt and made available to The Guardian, the ex- NDDC boss said, the institution means well for the Niger Delta region.

He said, “From Mr President’s Inaugural address on May 29th 2015 and the Vice President’s address during the Partners for Sustainable Development Forum recently, hosted by the Niger Delta Development Commission, it is clear that the Buhari-led Federal Government means well for the Niger Delta region.

“The timely appointment of the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and the continued implementation of the inherited Amnesty Programme underscore the President’s commitment.

“Setting the records straight, the idea of siting a tertiary educational institution in the crude oil and gas-rich Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State was first proposed and adopted under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo as a critical component in the roadmap to peace and sustainable development of the Niger Delta.

 “Gbaramatu Kingdom and other communities in the coastal belt of Nigeria, springing from Eastern Obolo/Ibeno in Akwa-Ibom through Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and  Edo to Ilaje and Ese-Odo in Ondo State account for over 70%  of the crude oil and gas output of Nigeria with concomitant devastation of the environment and threats on their means of livelihood. Paradoxically, this territory has been largely alienated from the mainstream of national development without any development.

“This explains the boundless joy that greeted the decision of the Federal Government to establish the Nigeria Maritime University at Okerenkoko, facilitated by the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) with a temporary site at Kurutie, having satisfied the requirements of the National Universities Commission (NUC). With Governing Council inaugurated, Vice Chancellor and other Principal Officers of the University appointed and take-off fund in NIMASA 2015 Appropriation Act passed by the National Assembly; it is clearly an error of judgment to contemplate scrapping the Nigeria Maritime University.

“I will rather appeal to the Minister to review his position on this matter in favour of the immediate take-off of the University by directing NIMASA to release the already appropriated take-off fund to the Nigeria Maritime University.

“For the Niger Delta and the Nation in general, the advantages of having the University far outweigh every argument to the contrary. Apart from capacity building for Nigerians in the maritime industry, bringing in direct foreign investment and arresting capital flight, the Nigeria Maritime University will play a key role in the re-integration phase of the Amnesty Programme”.

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