MARITIME ACADEMY OF NIGERIA ORON
• Cadets pay only N320,000 for 4-year training
• Over 5,000 stranded over lack of sea-time experience
Cadets at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State, require only about $2,000 (N320,000) to pay for their entire training and feeding for four years from Ordinary National Diploma (ND) 1 to Higher National Diploma (HND) 2.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY investigation revealed that this amount is less than 10 per cent of the fee paid by students in the maritime training institutions of other countries. At the Academy of Maritime Education and Training (AMET) University, Chennai, India where several potential Nigerian seafarers are undergoing training, the fee charged for the similar education runs into about $27,000 (N4.3 million) while at the Regional Maritime University (RMU), Accra Ghana, a Cadet will require $23,000 (N3.7 million) to pay tuition for four years.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY investigation further revealed that MAN, Oron ND1 cadets pay N74,022 and N25,980 in the first and second semester while ND2 cadets pay N27,280 and N33,360 respectively.
HND1 cadets pay N74, 022 in their first semester and N25,980 in the second while the final year cadets, HND2, pay N27,280 and N27,280 in the first and second semester respectively.
All the cadets also enjoy regular highly subsidized meals while on campus.
The low fees charged by the academy leaves it at the mercy of government support and corporate donors to execute capital projects and to pay for recurrent expenditure.
A source at the academy informed SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that the foremost maritime training institution generates less than N300 million annually from tuition fees including those charged on Post-Graduate Diploma (PGD) and executive training programmes while its overhead more than quadruples this amount.
The source said the amount is a far cry from what the institution needs to function optimally. The five per cent of revenue generated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) given to MAN Oron is also believed to be insufficient in meeting its needs prompting regular financial interventions by the agency. NIMASA recently provided a lifeline of N1 billion to the institute. The money was provided outside what it was statutorily required to remit.
The academy at present has over 4,000 cadets even as its hostels and other on-campus facilities are overstretched.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 5,000 cadets of the academy who completed their ND programme between 2001 and 2012 have been caught in the middle as they are unable to proceed to the HND level to complete their training because they have been unable to go to sea to acquire sea-time experience. They are also unable to secure jobs because they have not been issued with Certificates of Competency (COC).
Rector of MAN, Oron, Mr. Joshua Okpo, who confirmed this while receiving journalists at the academy recently said that the development is compounded by the lack of a training vessel and the dearth of Nigerian shipping companies that can take the cadets on board.
Okpo said that the institution is shopping for N2.2 billion annually to provide the important sea-time training to 250 cadets. He said the arrangement for the cadets is being put together in conjunction with a shipping company based in Turkey.
A cadet, Okon Ewang, who came to the office of SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in Lagos last week said he has been without further training or job for over four years.
“I completed my ND in 2009 but I can’t get sea-time experience. I have been to almost all the shipping companies in Port Harcourt and Lagos but it has been one excuse after the other. And without the sea-time experience, we cannot return to the academy for our HND and without it we cannot get our COC. I have been idle since I left school and I have resorted to doing menial jobs to survive,” Ewang, who claims to live in Calabar, said.
He appealed to the Federal Government to come to the aid of the cadets so that “we can progress in our careers.”