The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has appealed to the incoming National Assembl to veto President Buhari and passed the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State Establishment Bill 2018 into law. Shipping Position Daily recalls that, President Buhari in a recent letter to the Senate refused presidential assent to the Maritime University Establishment bill because of the diverse funding mechanisms provided for in the Bill. But in a statement signed by President Ijaw Youth Council (IYC); Mr Eric Omare, a copy of which was sighted by our correspondent, the IYC debunked the funding fears raised by the President, saying that being a specialised University, the funding mechanism are justifiable. According to the IYC “the diverse funding mechanisms provided for in the law are justified in the peculiar circumstances of the Maritime University”. “We wish to remind President Buhari that the institution is part of the special response to the historical deprivation of the Niger Delta region which was conceived by the Obasanjo administration, nurtured under the Yar'Adua/Jonathan era and came to reality in the Jonathan administration with the laying of the foundation in 2014 with academic activities kicking-off under the Buhari administration in the year 2017”, the youth group recalled.
The IYC in its statement recalled also that it was because the former Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi refused to buy into the University that his counterpart in the Ministry of Petroluem Rsources; Dr Ibeh Kachikwu took over the funding. “It is also important to recall that the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi whose Ministry ought to fund the institution clearly stated at Uyo in 2016 that the Transportation Ministry would not fund the institution. This gave rise to the offer by the Minister of State for Petroleum; Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to provide funding for the institution through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources considering the fact that the area the institution is located produces the petroleum resources of Nigeria. Furthermore, under the NIMASA Act, five percent of their annual budget is dedicate to research and training; hence, it is only logical for NIMASA to statutorily contribute to the funding of the only maritime University”, they said. The IYC noted that t is this funding arrangement that has been provided for by the National Assembly that the President is opposed to. “Therefore, considering the historical trajectory of the Maritime University which we have provided above, the funding mechanisms provided for by the National Assembly are justified and should be sustained in the interest of the survival of the institution”, it argued. It argued further that, the institution is sited in the difficult Niger Delta terrain and needs a lot of money to survive. President Buhari has no justification to refuse assent to the bill. The IYC believe that Mr. President is being misled by the cabal in Aso Rock who do not want the institution to succeed. Calling on the National Assembly to veto the controversial Bill, it added that “Nigerians would recall that President Buhari's refusal to assent to the Maritime University bill is not the first antagonism of a Nigerian President to developmental efforts into the Niger Delta region through legislative intervention”. “In the year 2000, when the NDDC Act was passed by the National Assembly, then President Obasanjo refused assent for similar reasons and the National Assembly under the leadership of the charismatic Late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo vetoed the presidential assent and passed the NDDC Act into law”.