The Rector of the Certified Institute of Shipping (CIS), Alex Okwashi, has expressed fears over the future of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria(MAN) Oron.
Okwashi said the establishment of the Maritime University of Nigeria, Okerenkoko by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had made the future of the academy bleak.
He said, “I don’t see how NIMASA will be able to run a University with all the faculties and still fund MAN, Oron.”
He however advised that for the regulatory agency to be able to continue funding MAN, Oron, it should integrate the academy as part of the University.
“Very soon they will dump MAN, Oron if they fail to integrate it as part of the University,” the Rector warned.
He however advised that MAN, Oron should be one of the campuses of the newly established Maritime University of Nigeria, Okerenkoko.
He said there was no need for the government to say it was upgrading MAN, Oron to a degree-awarding institution when there was maritime academy in Okerenkoko.
“With the NIMASA institution coming on board, I pray that MAN, Oron would be integrated as a faculty of that University or as a school of that University, like the Nigerian College of Maritime Studies, Oron, government does not need to duplicate efforts to set up another University in Oron, because the MAN can be Nigerian Maritime University, Oron Campus.”
“Nautical engineers can be trained at Oron because that is the core they are doing and other engineering, management courses can go to other areas.
Okuwashi also questioned the rationale behind the agency’s establishment of a university when it was supposed to be a regulatory agency.
“The establishment of Nigerian Maritime University should not be NIMASA’s concern. NIMASA is funding Oron, it is going to own a University, Why? It is going to fund the National Shipping line, it cannot! Where is the fund going to come from?
He advised that instead of getting itself enmeshed in academics, NIMASA should have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with credible maritime academies in the country.
“Since we have private institutions, why can’t NIMASA make them a Consortium by signing Memorandum of Understanding with them?
“NIMASA should pay a visit to CIS to see whether this place cannot pass for a University. What is wrong with NIMASA entering into a Memorandum of Understanding and say CIS, we see that you are the first shipping institution to commence a Master’s Degree programme in shipping, please run shipping management for us?
“They can go to Oron and say, you take care of Nautical, Oceanography, you take care of fishery because we need to develop strategic infrastructure for this sector to grow. But I don’t see how NIMASA will be able to run a University with all the faculties and fund MAN Oron. Very soon, they will dump Oron if they fail to integrate it as part of the University. So, let us first of all do the right thing,” Okwashi said.