11 January 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Ijaw Youth Council, IYC Worldwide has warned against plans by the Federal Government to rename the Nigerian Maritime University Okerenkoko to Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenghigho.
The Ijaw youths alleged that the Office of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice has issued a memo to the effect that the correct name of the community hosting the Nigerian Maritime University should be Okerenghigho and not Okerenkoko.
President of IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, explained that the site or community wherein the university is situated has never been known, addressed or called Okerenghigho at any time.
Omare warned that if the federal government is not interested in the take-off of the university, it should say so expressly and not use the name of the institution to instigate another crisis in the region.
He alleged that the federal government was coming up with the name as another diversionary strategy since the earlier tactics to use corruption as means to stop the take-off of the institution failed.
According to him, “The actual, historical and legally recognised name of the host community to the Nigerian Maritime University is Okerenkoko. The name Okerenkoko is reflected in all historical and political documents and institutions, including the Okerenkoko Primary School, Okerenkoko Secondary School, Okerenkoko electoral ward in all electoral documents, Okerenkoko General Hospital etc.
“There is no community known as Okerenghigho within and around the area where the Nigerian Maritime University is situated. Therefore, the purported Supreme Court case of James Uluba and others v. Chief E. E. Sillo has nothing to do with the land wherein the Nigerian Maritime University is situated.
“It is now obvious and crystal clear that the Buhari-led administration does not want the Nigerian Maritime University to start academic activities, hence this new diversionary strategy to cause unnecessary inter-ethnic crisis in the area wherein the university is situated and the Niger Delta at large.
“We strongly believe that the Federal Government wants to instigate another round of crisis in the Niger Delta region just as it is using Fulani herdsmen to instigate crisis to kill innocent citizens all over the country, especially in the middle belt region,” Omare said.
The IYC worldwide called on the National Assembly to ignore the memo from the office of the Attorney General, saying it was done in bad faith so as to instigate another round of crisis in the Niger Delta region.
It maintained that the name of the site of the Nigerian Maritime University is and would remain Okerenkoko.
“It would be recalled that during the public hearing on the bill to establish the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, similar presentation was made by the Itsekiri delegation but it was ignored by both houses of the National Assembly.
“There is no amount of misrepresentation that can change the name from the actual name to Okerenghigho or any other name. It is elementary knowledge that institutions all over the world are known by the name of the place where it is situated and not otherwise,” the IYC president maintained.