How we plan to spend NIMASA’s N2bn intervention fund – MAN Oron Rector

The N2 billion intervention fund given to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State, by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is being used to expand facilities at the foremost maritime training institution to prepare it for upgrade to a university.

Rector of MAN Oron, Mr. Joshua Okpo, stated this at the Academy’s Lagos Office on the last Sunday of 2013 during a mind robbing session with members of the maritime media.

“We have gone to open up the newly acquired land given to us by the Government of Akwa Ibom State. We want to use the N2 billion intervention fund that NIMASA gave to us last year to start changing the landscape of that parcel of land. We have done the site plan and we have also mapped out the road network. We are trying to develop, among other things on that land, shopping malls, staff quarters, worship centres, a mini-mart and any other structure that will be deemed relevant to give it the semblance of a mini-city,” Okpo stated.

He said the New Year will be rosy for the Academy as several key projects it embarked upon will be completed and commissioned by the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar.

“The Academy is stabilising and is now being programmed in the path of growth,” he stated.

He disclosed that MAN Oron has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for affiliation to the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmo, Sweden and for the provision of sea time experience to a backlog of over 5,000 cadets. WMU is owned by the IMO.

“Today, the Academy has gone to sign an MOU at the headquarters of the IMO under the watchful eyes of its Secretary-General as part of arrangements to get sea time for our cadets, those who have been finishing at the Academy for the past few years. Hopefully, we should be able to put 250 cadets; 100 of them deck officers and 150 of them engineers; to have their sea time experience for 12 months to enable them acquire their certificates of competencies. It will cost us 100 euros per cadet per day which amounts to 8.6 million euros per year,” he said.

Okpo said an assessment team from the World Maritime University (WMU) is expected in Nigeria on 23rd January 2014. He said the team will visit both MAN Oron and NIMASA after which it is expected to file a report for the final ratification of the MOU for affiliation of the Academy with the global maritime university. He said the visiting team will also audit NIMASA to determine the agency’s capability to issue certificates of competencies to seafarers.

The IMO, according to him, is coordinating the arrangement for sea time for the cadets and the affiliation to the WMU.

He said MAN Oron needs to compete globally and place itself on the world map. This according to him, prompted the signing of another MOU with the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMAREST) to enable its cadets take advantage of the various resources at the disposal of IMAREST.

He said the academic curriculum of MAN Oron has been reviewed in preparation for upgrading it to a degree awarding institution disclosing that even when it becomes degree awarding, it will retain its diploma courses.

“That is why we are taking our time with the process of accreditation and upgrading. We don’t want to rush to the NUC (National Universities Commission) to become a university and then create a problem that we will not be able to solve especially because of the STCW courses,” he said.