Published On: Thu, Nov 17th, 2016

Bill establishing the Nigerian Maritime University at Okerenkoko in Delta State scaled Second Reading at the Senate

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Signs that there would peace in the Niger Delta soon have started showing as bill establishing the Nigerian Maritime University at Okerenkoko in Delta State scaled Second Reading at the Senate on Wednesday.senate-session-pix

The bill for the establishment of the university sponsored by Senator James Manager (PDP-Delta) was tabled on Wednesday despite the announcement of the scrapping of the University by the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi.

The establishment of the University was among the demands made by Pan Niger Delta Forum led by Chief Edwin Clark as panacea for peace in the Niger Delta region to President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

It was learnt that senators shunned Amaechi proposal to scrap the University and debated the bill during plenary on Wednesday.

“The Senate shunned the Transport minister, ensuring that the bill for the establishment of the Maritime University scaled second reading, our source said.

Senator James Manager (PDP-Delta) who sponsored the bill had advocated for the establishment of the University and was unanimously supported by his colleagues on Wednesday.

Manager explained that the proposed Maritime University, Okerenkoko will be the first specialized institution in West Africa.

Recall that the Transport Minister had, while addressing the Senate committee on Maritime, announced the scrapping of the project, which was to be financed by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration Agency, NIMASA, a parastatal under his ministry.

“Citing insecurity in the area as reason, he added that the project was a “misplacement of priority” because there are transport institutes in Zaria (Kaduna), and Oron (Akwa Ibom), already.

“But during plenary on Wednesday, the Senate shunned the Transport minister, ensuring that the bill for the establishment of the Maritime University scaled second reading”, the source said.

Giving credence to the bill, Manager had argued that Maritime sector had huge potentials and that Nigeria should have a university for the purpose of producing capable manpower for the sector which, as he said, is currently dominated by foreign interests.

On suitability of Okerenkoko for the project, he said the area was close to the sea and surrounded by oil wells.

“The move that the bill be read for the second time was seconded by Foster Ogola (PDP-Bayelsa) who said the giving legal backing to the School would make Nigeria become a “hub of manpower development in the Maritime sector.”

“He said Nigeria would be the first to have Maritime University in West Africa once the bill received approval of the National Assembly ultimately.

Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos) and Jibrin Barau (APC-Kano) also supported the bill.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, after debate on the bill, called for voice vote and the Senators unanimously responded ‘ayes’. He consequently ruled the bill be referred to the committee on Tertiary education and Tetfund.

The Committee was asked to report back to the Upper Legislative Chamber in four weeks period.

 

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