Captain Tajudeen Alao (Master Mariner)
With the population of 180million, one additional maritime university is not too much, but for the job we have offshore the job is already saturated, so if you train people in that area what are they going to do. Then the funding of the university is the issue, so is it going to be NIMASA or Okerenkoko University? NIMASA is not empowered to start up a university, so it is political; the budget of the university is bigger than what the government gives to any university in Nigeria the budget is political. We can’t continue except if you have funding from outside, the federal government priority on other universities the budget of that university can take more than two to three universities so we can’t afford it. In any case, if it must be, it will be an extension of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN Oron.
Emmanuel Nwagbara (Maritime Lawyer)
No, I am not in support of the decision because one of the infrastructures that we need to foster maritime activities in Nigeria and attain respect among the committee of maritime nations is a maritime institution of first class. And I think that maritime university is one such tertiary institution that has first class potentials. So, not assenting to that bill is a setback for the maritime industry in Nigeria. And I think as a nation there are certain projects that need fund, even if it means cutting down on others to meet funding such ones, maritime university is such project. Besides that project cost Billions of naira in the last four to five years when the idea was conceived, not assenting to the bill to actualize the dreams of the stakeholders will mean a very serious setback. It will also mean that we are not priotising maritime in Nigeria as a national project that will move this country forward in a special way. So I urge the president to rethink that decision and assent to that bill.
Mr. John Okpono (Merchant Navy)
No, I am not in support of the President’s decision to decline assent to the maritime university bill because admission has started in the university, school fees have been paid and it is going to be a waste of time and resources if it is not approved. Secondly huge amount of money has been spent on this project by the same federal government, so not assenting to the bill now means it is going to be a waste of resources. Three the location is part of the places where we have youth unrest; so approving that university will give them a sense of belonging which will transmit to peace. But all the same the President has ears and people advise him on what to do; it all depends on what they have told him, people must have briefed him on why he should not. That project has consumed much from the federal government and it will give the residents of the area sense of belonging and it will also bring employment opportunity.
Mr. John Egesi (Stakeholder)
I support the President but not because of the reason of the President; because when you talk of money you are talking in the other of considerations and needs, if it is not for this it should be for that. My reason is that because the university will be specifically for maritime, even great countries like England they don’t have anything like that, I am not even sure that Philippines have too. The problem is that we have this erroneous view that Nigeria is a maritime nation simply because we import a lot of things. We are not an island nation in the first place, even if we are what make someone a maritime nation is the ownership of vessels that carry cargo. Where will the graduates of the university work, there is what is called cybernetic linkages, when you train you are looking at where the person you have trained will fit into.
Capt. Adewale Ishola
If we can put things right, I don't see why the President should not sign the bill, the source of funding I know its going to put more in the people's hand, so I can understand his fears. So if they can make it much more reasonable source of funding, then maybe the President will look at it again. I remember I was at the National Assembly sometime last year when they were defending this bill, we all saw that the source of funding is not of the agency involved, I knew that they will definitely complain.
I believe the President should have signed the Maritime University bill, but I think he refused to sign the bill because of funding. If you look at the lives of some lecturers at of the Maritime school, nobody wants to go to that place and lecture.
Also look at MAN Oron for instance; they are running the school in a local standard because unlike other countries the lecturer will interchange then go from place to place. So you don't take Nigeria lecturer alone, you must look at other countries too by signing MOU with them. So that is one of the problem they are facing at Oron.
I don't know maybe it’s the issue of budget, I don't know why they didn't assent to the bill, but I believe its a setback for the country.
Capt Akinpelumi Taiwo
Maritime institution is important no doubt, but it is not our immediate talent in the maritime industry, why because the existing maritime institutions we have in this country have not been put into full utilization.
Let's take the instance of Maritime Academy Oron, you will see that Nigeria is among the countries IMO is trying to remove on the white list, simply because the training of seafarers as being undertaken by Maritime Academy Oron is below standard. It is very unfortunate and shameful that in this country, we cannot run a class one training and certification, the institution cannot issue class one ticket up till now, because the standard is still below the issuance of class one.
So if we have maritime institution in place and we are under utilizing them so why would the President go ahead to sign a bill for another maritime university.