Senate Passes Maritime University Bill, Shuns Amaechi

The bill for establishment of Nigerian Maritime University at Okerenkoko in Delta State, on Wednesday scaled second reading at the Senate, months after Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, announced scrapping of the project.

The bill sponsored by James Manager (PDP-Delta) was unanimously supported by the senators after the mover’s lead debate, making case for the establishment of the university.

The groundbreaking of the proposed school at Okerenkoko in Warri south-West local government area was done by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 and, according to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, physical asset were on site.

However, there has been no law backing the establishment of the university.

Addressing the senate committee on maritime on January 19, Mr. Amaechi had announced the scrapping of the project, which was to be financed by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration Agency, a parastatal under his ministry.

Mr. Amaechi then cited insecurity in the area, and said the project was a “misplacement of priority” because there are transport institutes in Zaria (Kaduna), and Oron (Akwa Ibom), already.

Later on June 14 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the Minister said the Federal Government lacked the funds to continue with school; and that unless the N13 billion spent on the procurement of the land for the project was retrieved, the project stood scrapped.

“Okerenkoko (Maritime University), I am not against,” he said. “My argument about Okerenkoko is that land alone is 13 billion(naira). If you give me 13 billion, I will buy the half of Lagos. That 13 billion has built the university already.”

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Kachikwu, Amaechi Disagree On Maritime University

The minister of transport, Chibuike Amaechi, and the minister of state for petroleum, Ibeh Kachikwu, on Monday disagreed on the establishment of a Nigerian Maritime University, proposed for Okerenkoko in Delta State.

Speaking alongside other ministers at a government town meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Amaechi defended the decision of the Buhari administration to scrap the project.

Mr. Amaechi said the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan had paid too much to acquire a site for the university.

The groundbreaking of the proposed school at Okerenkoko in Warri south-West local government area was done by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.

But addressing the senate committee on maritime on January 19, Mr. Amaechi announced the scrapping of the project, which was to be financed by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration Agency, a parastatal under his ministry.

He cited insecurity in the area, and said the project was a “misplacement of priority” because there are transport institutes in Zaria (Kaduna), and Oron (Akwa Ibom), already.

On Monday, Mr. Amaechi address the case again, in response to a question at the town hall meeting.

The minister said the new government lacked the funds to continue with the university project.

Credit: Premiumtimes