Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron
Commodore Emmanuel Effedua (rtd), the Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom, says his mission is to reposition and restructure the maritime training institution for global reckoning.
Effedua said this during the visit of the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly Committee on Judiciary, Justice, Human Rights and Pubic Petitions to the academy on Wednesday.
He said that his mission and mandate was in line with the Federal Government’s expectations and that he would not be distracted by the local politics of host communities.
He insisted he did not close any access road between the academy and Udung Uko Village in Oron Local overnment Area as being alleged.
“I do not know the road. I have never been there. I have been here for just eight months. I don’t have the right to close any road in Nigeria. I don’t have that power. I don’t even have that audacity.
“But I have the right to close my fence, not road,” Effedua said.
The rector explained that the said gate had remained closed for many years before he assumed office and that he only rebuilt the section of the wall that had the gate.
Effedua expressed regret that of all the communities in Oron, Udung Uko was the only community where somebody was being used to cause problems in the academy.
He further said that a few months ago, some members of the community had come to plead that the gate be opened for them to carry a corpse through for burial in a neighbouring ommunity.
“I advised them that it was not proper but that they should use one of the many alternative routes. But they insisted on passing through the closed gate and went ahead the following day to pull down the gate.’’
According to him, the masterminds of the crisis have made fruitless efforts to get money from the academy for fictitious contracts they claimed to have executed before his arrival. They, therefore, resorted to petitions against the academy.
“These were avenues for money laundering, which the former regimes used to pass money to them for protection.
“Because they cannot get this money anymore; they want to confuse the world and pretend that there was a problem.’’
The rector, who led the committee members to the site, revealed that the academy had executed numerous corporate social responsibility projects including grading of roads, employment of youths from the areas and sponsoring cultural/sports fiestas among others.
Responding, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Mr Otobong Akpan, representing Ukanafun State Constituency, who led other members, said the visit was prompted by a public petition against the academy in respect of the closed gate.
“We are, therefore, here on a fact-finding mission after which we shall report to the whole house for further deliberations.
“We have seen the truth and we will report same to the House of Assembly,’’ Akpan said.
Akpan said that the petition was sent to the assembly by Mr Effiong Bassey, representing Oron/Udung uko State constituency.
Earlier, Mr Charles Bassey, the Vice Chairman, Oron Local Government Area, claimed that Marina Road had been in existence before he was born.
Bassey said it would be unfair for the community that donated the land for the building of the academy to be locked in.
“Marina Road that passes through the academy is the only access road for them to go out and come in. The people moved to the other side because of a communal issue.
“That was why they were negotiating for white paper for them to go back to their village.
“If you go back you will find out that this is the only road leading to the village. The committee should see that this road is not closed.
“If the road disturbs the academy, let them create perimeter fences on both sides of the institution,” Bassey said.