The Senate on a Wednesday passed a bill to upgrade the Maritime Academy (MAN), Oron in Akwa Ibom State into a full-fledged University of Maritime Studies.
Also passed was a bill to establish the Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Ogoja, Cross River State.
This followed the presentation and consideration of two separate reports by the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).
Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.
According to the statement, “Senator Sandy Onuh (PDP, Cross River Central), in a presentation on behalf of the Committee’s Chairman, Ahmad Babba Kaita (APC, Katsina North), said upgrading the academy into a university would help Nigeria in achieving the prerequisites of the International Maritime Organization convention on standard of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.
“According to him, the university would afford students the opportunity to specialise in international shipping and waterways transportation, port operations, management as well as exploitation and exploration of oil and gas as a boost for Nigeria’s economy.
“Onuh observed that Nigeria presently records losses in the maritime sector, a development which, according to him, was largely due to deficits in manpower and seafarers.
“He lamented that the country commits resources in search of university degrees, postgraduate research degrees and professionals from all facets of the maritime industry outside Nigeria.”
Tabiowo quoted Onuh as saying, “The Maritime environment requires highly trained personnel to manage the country’s enormous natural endowment and resources on our offshores, international shipping, oil and gas and expansion of coastline with waterways for a viable coastal and inland water transport industry.”
He said the lawmaker added that the upgrade of MAN Oron into a university would benefit host communities in the South-South geopolitical zone and Nigeria as a whole.