The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi has disclosed that the N13billion used in acquiring land in Okerenkoko, Delta for the Nigerian Maritime University was illegally pulled out of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
The CVFF is a pool of fund created under the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act (Cabotage Act) 2003 to enable indigenous shipping operators acquire vessels. It is believed that more than USD200million (about N40billion) has accrued into the fund since inception.
Speaking in Lagos on Monday while answering questions during an interactive session with maritime stakeholders at a conference organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Amaechi said the N13billion purportedly used for acquiring only land for the university project by the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi was sufficient to complete an entire university project.
Ameachi explained that he stopped the university project for three major reasons – the fund was drawn illegally from an account meant for other purposes; the project was used as a conduit to siphon money out of NIMASA and the neglect of existing training institutions especially the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron Akwa Ibom State.
“If that money had been pumped into MAN Oron to upgrade that institution, I am sure it would have been much more meaningful,” he said.
The Minister said he had obtained President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval to carry out a performance audit of the maritime industry to reposition it for optimum performance.
The conference, which started on Monday, ended yesterday.
During the opening ceremony on Monday, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had lamented the high level of corruption in the country even as he called on the Federal Government to “think out of the box” in tackling the numerous challenges confronting the maritime sector.
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