The Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, Akwa Ibom State is unhappy over a petition written by a youth group which called itself the Amalgamated Oro Youth Force in Oron, Awka Ibom State.
The youth group had laid serious allegation bordering on alleged immoral conduct and financial impropriety against the Rector of the academy.
In a letter dated August 3, 2015 titled ‘FINANCIAL MISAPPROPRIATION, FRAUD, SEX SCANDAL AND ABUSE OF OFFICE IN THE MARITIME ACADEMY OF NIGERIA, ORON’, the group had accused Okpo of spending N8billion over the past four years “without nothing to show for such a huge amount of money.”
The group’s petition was signed by its President, Francis Otioro and Secretary, Victor Eyo.
But in a swift reaction by its Media Consultant, Ovie Edomi, MAN Oron rubbished the group’s claims, stating that, “Okpo has demonstrated that he is patriotic, focused and determined. He has succeeded in weaning “powerful Nigerians” from sucking the academy dry and this group of people are the ones sponsoring falsehood”.
Edomi said those behind the allegation have “failed to understand that the institution is federal government-owned and Okpo has told them that the Academy is not a national cake for those who have entitlement mentality.”
Continuing, he said, “In the last four years, Okpo has changed the landscape of the academy. New classrooms and workshops have been created. More hostels were constructed for male and female cadets. For the first time, the president of World Maritime University, Malmo, Sweden, visited the academy when he got reports that the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron under Okpo leadership was making progress with the upgrading of infrastructure and facilities in line with the upgrading of the academy to degree-award status.
“When the president of the World Maritime University visited the academy at Oron, he expressed delight with the high level of manpower development, as well as the facilities/infrastructural upgrade and pledged to see that they collaborate with the federal government through the ministry of transport.
“That collaboration is still on and there has been visits by the University team to work with the academy on curriculum development to ensure standard training of seafarers in line with STCW.
“Under the Okpo led-management, the secretary general of International Maritime Organization, IMO, equally visited the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron for the first time. Besides, Okpo embarked on the aggressive provision of electricity supply to the Academy by connecting it to the national electricity grid. Water supply to the academy is 24-hour.
“On ground at the academy are full bridge simulator, liquid cargo handing simulator, and 360-degree simulator, which are needed for simulator training and certification. This is aside from the electrical electronic laboratories, power/electrical machine laboratory, engineering workshop, fluid/strength material lab among others that were equipped and renovated. Okpo also completed blocks of flats for Staff as well as built the regiment/procurement block etc.
“The academy is still one of the few institutions where quarantine centres is established. The screening for Ebola is still done till date knowing that cadets come from home and abroad, thus there is need for caution.
“Other milestones which the group fail to realise is that there is a Ministerial Monitoring Committee that handles admission into the academy. The Rector has no hand in it. He is just a member of the Committee.”
The group, according to him, has been scheming for an Oron person to be the Rector of the Academy in the last five years forgetting that the academy is a federal government institution recognised by IMO amongst the over 500 Maritime Academies world wide but each time they tried they fail.
Each time they try to bring up issues that do not hold water and put in the public domain to deceive the public but they end up coming to beg in the end,” he stated.
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