17 September 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Contrary to claims by some persons who last week led a mass protest against the Transportation Ministerial Management Committee appointed by the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi to oversee the affairs of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, the Eyo Abasi Maritime Host Community Relations Committee has condemned the action as unfair and unjustified.
The Committee also declared that the protest was carried out by misguided persons and sponsored hoodlums who have no say in the affairs of the community.
Accordingly, the group declared its total support for the Chief Adebayo Sarumi led Committee and the initiative of the Federal Government to carry out its lawful duty at the Academy without let or hindrance, as it urged the Federal Government to always carry along the Committee in its external relations in order to forestall a repeat of falling victim to faceless persons who are detrimental to growth and progress.
The group also alerted the general public to the antics of some individuals who have for some time been masquerading as Oron host community leaders, and warned government officials not to allowed themselves to be swindled by these impostors under nebulous associations, noting that there is only one body known as the Eyo Abasi Maritime Host Community Relations Committee, recognized to speak on behalf of the Eyo Abasi autonomous host community.
A statement by the group signed by its Chairman, Pastor Bassey Okon Umoh and Secretary General, Comrade Etim Nyong Etim and made available Vanguard, lauded the Federal Government and the Transportation Minister, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi for taking steps to end the management lacuna in the Academy, and especially for MAN’s recent upgrade into a maritime university. The group urged the FG to fast-track the implementation of the new status of the institution by immediately appointing a Vice Chancellor and other principal officers to begin the real task of transformation, following expected quick assent of the Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group which laid sole authority to matters of external relations with the Academy and host community said it was constituted by the Supreme Council of Chiefs headed by His Royal Highness Offong Francis Eyo, Clan Head of Afaha Okpo, and presented to the management of MAN Oron on Friday 20th January 2017, at the MAN Conference hall. It, therefore, disassociated itself from the recent protests and urge the Chief Adebayo Sarumi led Committee to go about its assignment without recourse to the alleged sponsored protest. The statement read in part:
“We congratulate you on your well-deserved appointment as the Chairman of this laudable Committee. We believe your committee’s work is very challenging, but we also believe you and your highly respectable team members will surmount the challenges and put this seasoned institution in the right perspective for the benefit of the motherland.
“Our attention has been drawn to the baseless, uninformed position of some fictitious, unpatriotic individuals and unproductive youth associations sponsored to incite the public against the government. They spread a rumour in the society by their fictitious, baseless petitions to tarnish the image of the host community.
“We hereby disassociate ourselves from the insults on the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, who we believe is working tirelessly to restructure and reposition MAN Oron to a world-class institution. We strongly condemn such unfair and provocative reactions, because the individuals involved are detrimental to progress and development of Oro nation and the country at large. We urge both the HMOT and the Management Committee not to be discouraged in their duties and responsibilities to the Academy, and to always liaise with the Host Community Relations Committee for authentic information.
“Our Committee is aware of the Bill from the National Assembly passed into law for the upgrade of MAN Eyo-Abasi, Oron, to Federal University of Maritime Studies Oron, which is pending the assent of Mr. President to fully convert to a university. It is our hope that the awaited presidential assent will receive quick attention, while we look forward to the immediate appointment of its Vice Chancellor and other principal officers towards speedy commencement of the implementation and actualization of FUMS Oron”.