On Tuesday January 19, 2016, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi told lawmakers in Abuja that the Federal Government had cancelled the Nigerian Maritime University project, which was initiated by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.
Amaechi accused the former administration of using the university project as a conduit pipe.
As usual, Lydia Ojarikre went to town to sample the view of everyday Nigerians on the scrapping of the first maritime university in the country.
I don’t support the scrapping of an academic institution but I think they should upgrade the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron to a university and still build the Maritime University. Whatever transpired or brought about the idea of scrapping the university should be looked into, if funds meant for building the school weremismanaged, they should look into it then probe the people responsible for the mismanagement. The idea of scrapping the university should be nullified.
They should not scrap the university because of people who are interested in learning about the shipping or maritime sector. Since it’s within the country it would not be as expensive as maritime universities outside the country and this would yield productivity in the maritime industry.
Port Harcourt, Rivers
What needs to be done needs to be done. If the project is such that would benefit Nigerians and the cost of building it is not too much then the university project should be allowed to fly but if it’s a project that would incur much expenses and the Federal Government would not be able to fund it then it should be allowed to die a natural death. It all boils down to numbers. We all know the current situation in the country, as it is now a single kobo matters.
After creating the university, what happens to the graduates of the school? Do they have jobs waiting for them because after graduating, they would need to get an experience in their respective fields. If all these things are put in place then the university shouldn’t be scrapped but if not then we let it be.
The main reason given by the Minister of Transportation for scrapping the proposed university was because we have an institution inOron, that there is a Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria and also the Nigerian College of Aviation in Zaria. What the minister failed to understand is that this university, when completed will be the first and only maritime degree awarding institution in Nigeria. None of those institutions he mentioned are degree awarding. To the best of my knowledge, they give diploma which cannot be compared in any way to degree qualifications. It is also very pertinent to note that neither the NITT, NCAT, MAN nor the proposed NMU share the same scope. NITT deals with trainings relating to Transport Technology, NCAT is for aviation matters. The Maritime Academy in Oron is for staff training for those already in the maritime sector and offers diploma programs to those interested in having career in the sector. However, the proposed NMU would be training professionals and experts in the maritime field, meaning it has nothing to do with aviation, which NCAT is meant to address nor that of NITT, neither is it to take the functions of MAN who awards diploma. I have a couple of friends from the Niger Delta region who are in need for professionalism in maritime training and have gone to maritime university in Ghana to obtain maritime degrees. Let’s not also forget that the university when operational will provide opportunities to Nigerians that seek professionalism in the maritime sector. It will also save our scare foreign exchange because instead of people going abroad to get a maritime degree, Nigerians will rather stay home and study for the program. As with all universities worldwide, this proposed university would also create thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly thereby improving to an extent the lives of those around the area. If we consider all these, I believe it would be very inappropriate for the Minister of Transportation to cancel the project.
I don’t support the plan of Federal Government to scrap the maritime university because maritime study is an integral aspect of learning in the country and the world at large. The past administration invested so much in the project, so why let such investment be a waste.
How can a right thinking Nigerian think of scrapping Nigeria Maritime University when millions of Naira have been invested in the project, the university is not for the Ijaw people alone, we are talking about lack of development in that region, we are talking about lack of amenities in the place and the backwardness nature of that place then somebody is coming to say that a project that has passed first and second stage, which will be meaningful to the region and the nation should be scrapped. Government should leave the school as it is then focus on how to complete the project because there is a lot of things that will benefit the society from the existence of that school.
I don’t support the scrapping of the maritime university because in the actual sense there has never been a purposeful government in Nigeria. If transport minister wants to fight corruption, scrapping the proposed University is not the way to fight corruption. The university has long been due; it ought to have been functioning more than ten years ago. The so called militants could have been marine officers and investors at the same time on the establishment of the school. As small as UK is, there are more than five maritime institutions. So what is the big deal if Nigeria floats a maritime university?
I don’t think the university should be scrapped. This is so because Nigerian students would be given the privilege to school in the country rather than going outside the country to acquire a maritime degree which would cost more. Moreover, we have good lecturers in the country and with the location of the school the students will gain more experience.
Yes I agree with the decision of the Federal Government to scrap the university. I feel that there is no need for government to build a maritime university at this point when we have a lot of universities that are underfunded and given the location of the university, there is no way a university can survive in the creeks of the Niger delta where there is a lot of insecurity and insurgency happening in the area. Most parents would not send their children to that area. So there is no need, it is a waste of time and resources.
The reason for the scrapping of the university by the Federal Government is not valid, because the function of the university is different from that of the Maritime Academy in Oron. One of the reasons given is wasteful spending; this does not remove the fact that we need a maritime university. If we throw away the idea right now it becomes a waste of investment. So if we want to develop the maritime sector we cannot do away with the university because that would take you all through the depth and width of maritime studies. There is need for the university because there are some countries that their business activities revolve around the maritime sector and Nigeria is blessed to be one. We have the Atlantic ocean which we can use to reach other coastal countries anywhere in the world and if we are not tapping into that, the kind of money other countries generate from sea transportation and shipping would be lost.
If the university was planned and some people were not up to the task in getting it to take off, it doesn’t mean it should be scrapped that does not make sense. There was a need for the university and that need should be served. I expect the Federal Government to right whatever wrongs done by whoever was there before now and not to kill the idea that’s not a way to make progress.
I think the maritime university should be scrapped, that’s if we look at it from the allegations levelled against the last administration because if the school is built, a lot of money would be spent and the new administration have other things to look into, so they should not waste money on a project that money has been wasted on. Looking at it from the view of not scrapping the school, it would help Nigerian students a lot and when they graduate, they would be of great gain and impact in the country and no knowledge is wasted.
The closure of the Maritime University is unfortunate. How do you develop the maritime industry without an institute that develops people on that sector?
It is absurd that they want to scrap the university. If you say, you are closing down the maritime university then what are the potentials, you are also closing down those potentials. The challenge now is to the people to create a private Maritime University. Those in the Niger Delta region should come together to create a private maritime university in the region.