President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to put the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron, Akwa Ibom State on its priority list.
The Association of Former Councilors of Oron Nation (AFECO) made the call after a tour of the academy.
Addressing reporters in Uyo, the state capital, after the tour, the group’s President, Okon Edet Iyohokwa, said it was not happy that past administrations neglected the academy’s development.
He urged President Buhari to assist the institution.
Iyohokwa alleged that the institution had been under funded by the government, adding that it had not been accorded the status befitting a special institution.
The group listed some of the challenges of the academy to include its non-listing by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), World Maritime University and other relevant international maritime authorities.
These, it said, had reduced its global status both at the international labour market and participation in relevant global protocols and conventions.
“As former Oron councillors, we have for a very long time been concerned about the fate of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria. As a special institution like the School of Aviation Zaria, Petroleum Training Institute Warri, Nigeria Defence Academy Kaduna, to name just a few, we had hoped for a realistic provision of adequate maritime training for the production of the needed maritime manpower.
“Top in our worry is the realisation that MAN Oron is just beginning the process of affiliation and partnership with global maritime regulatory bodies, such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and World Maritime University (WMU), and there are other relevant bodies beside these two. We feel sad that with over 30 years of historical sanction, MAN Oron lacks the academic and technical base to qualify cadets based on the Manila Convention, and our cadets are compelled to pursue their course completion programme in other maritime academies, in the world.
“We do not only find this unacceptable, for us, it is scandalous and seemed to be the height of executive inaction, and or, executive negligence. Knowing the track record of President Buhari, we feel assured that his administration will provide the turning point for the academy.
“Unfortunately, in the past 20 years, we have watched helplessly as the most basic training facilities and assets were not provided. It is clear that training under this reality in the past has been adhoc in nature and incomplete.
“Funding for the academy is inadequate and we are also concerned about part of the academy’s funding arrangements derived from a statutory five percent of the net earnings of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), which is released to the academy at piece meal and at the whims and caprices of the leadership of NIMASA,” he said.
Its Secretary, Essang Achibong, urged President Buhari to reposition the institution for better performance.
“We are happy and grateful to God that a man of integrity like President Buhari has ascended to power. We urge him to take more than passing interest in the affairs of MAN Oron in respect of holistically repositioning the academy,” Achibong said.
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