The Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Commodore Emmanuel Effedua (retd.), has cancelled all fees payable by the cadets of the institution for short mandatory courses.
He said the cadets had been asked to pay for courses that were originally in their training programmes, which some past administrators of the academy removed over the years in order to organise short mandatory courses for a fee of N120,000 per cadet.
The rector, who announced this during an inspection tour of the academy on Friday, described the academy as a government-owned institution that was tuition-free, but charged only maintenance fees, which include accommodation, uniforms, among others.
“The issue is that cadets in the Nigerian Defence Academy don’t pay school fees, but the government gives them some stipends. The Maritime Academy of Nigeria is a para-military institution and no matter what people are trying to turn it to, it is coming back to that.
“The cadet system is tuition-free. Cadets don’t pay school fees, but they pay maintenance fees which include uniforms and all that. I don’t think it is right for them to be paying tuition. I was once a cadet and I never paid school fees. I never bought a pin, too. These are cadets. I think they should enjoy the same thing, but it can be worked out.
“There are many irrelevant things in the budget. I have to rework the 2018 budget with my team. Training had been relegated. We had to push most of the funds from projection into training. Then, we can also include accommodation and feeding. Why talk about accommodation when it is owned by us?
“How can cadets be here for training when what used to be in their course originally was removed over the years and they are asked to pay as much as N120,000? Most of these children don’t have money. So why should they pay? They are not going to pay a dime for such courses from the day they enter till they leave the academy,” he said.