With the Senate’s positive moves initiated by Senator James E. Manager, it is shocking that those who wanted the university to ‘die’ are laying another landmine on its path by resolving ahead to deprive it of needed funds

A group, Gbaramatu Rebirth Initiative, (GRI) has carpeted the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Pewterside, over his recent comment in a recent national newspaper, in which the Rivers State-born administrator was said to have disowned the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko.

In a statement signed and released to GBARAMATU VOICE NEWSPAPER by its Cordinator, Moses Yabrade Coordinator, and Secretary, Godswill Wuruyai and titled ” RE: Setting up Maritime Varsity, not our mandate-NIMASA,  the group expressed shock and disappointment in a particular statement by Dr. Peterside, in which he said that NIMASA has ”veered off its mandate” by establishing  the Maritime Institution, while also adding that agency will not fund it.

The statement reads; ‘Our attention has been drawn to a statement (Vanguard, February 7, 2017 page 10) credited to the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, to the effect that the Agency before his tenure, “veered off its mandate” in establishing the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko.

‘Also worrisome, as reported in other media, is Dr. Peterside’s utterance that NIMASA would not fund the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko on the premise that the Agency’s enabling law finds no place for funding of the institution.

‘As stakeholders, there is great attraction towards ignoring Dr. Peterside’s alleged statements, against backdrop of the Nigerian Senate’s commendable and concerted efforts to give further legal backing to the NMU, Okerenkoko. We however herein react to the NIMASA DG’s statement in the national interest. We doubt Dr. Peterside’s capability of taking NIMASA to the realization of the full dreams of those who envisioned it, given his display of crass ignorance of the body’s enabling Act.

”The NIMASA Act in S.22 (2) (e) clearly states that one of the body’s functions is to “establish and manage maritime institutions for the training of the officers of the Agency”. This function has the ability of facilitating “growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure” in keeping with yet another duty outlined in S.22(1)(k) of the Act.

”We again read in S.23(1): “In addition to any other powers conferred on it by this or any Act, the Agency (NIMASA) has, subject to this Act, power to do all things necessary for, or incidental to or in connection with the performance of its functions”.

The statement also states that the agency has the mandate to fund the Univerdsity and further quoted the relevant sections of the acts establishing it to back up its claims.

”From the foregoing, it is clear that NIMASA is replete with powers and has the mandate to establish an institution of university standard, to serve the Agency’s interests beyond Nigeria in accordance with a further function in S.22(3). Put another way, NIMASA has the powers to establish a world-class maritime university to meet its needs.

”We have no reason to believe that a university already set rolling pursuant to clear provisions of an Act of the National Assembly (NIMASA Act 2007 is an Act of the National Assembly) could be considered illegal. It is this ‘legal mandate’ that led the Federal Government’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) to approve and give the necessary support to it by appointing a Vice Chancellor and other principal officers of the institution. The ‘mandate’ was what led the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to accredit the university as it noted at the Public Hearing of the Bill for an Act to establish the NMU, Okerenkoko.

”It beats the imagination that Dr. Peterside will acknowledge that NIMASA conceived the NMU, Okerenkoko and say there was no place in the Maritime Act for the body to fund the institution. The NIMASA Act anticipates other institutions (note ‘s’ in the word—institutions in S.22(2)e!) beyond the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, all of which can enjoy the funding provisions set out in S.16(2) and S.17(1,2)! For the avoidance of doubt, S.17 (1,2) states: “There is established the Maritime Fund (in this Act referred to as “the Maritime Fund”). Monies in the Fund may be applied only for the purpose of furthering the objectives and functions of the Agency under this Act”.

”With the Senate’s positive moves initiated by Senator James E. Manager, it is shocking that those who wanted the university to ‘die’ are laying another landmine on its path by resolving ahead to deprive it of needed funds. While people like Dr. Patrick Akpoboloukaemi, the former NIMASA DG and others were forward looking for the good and advancement of the Nigerian maritime industry by conceiving the NMU, Okerenkoko, it is unfortunate that Dr. Dakuku Peterside seemingly prefers its stillbirth and hence continuous capital flight from Nigeria in the foreign training of officers and seafarers over the years.

”We urge Dr. Dakuku Peterside to be ingenious in moving the nation’s maritime industry forward, especially in revving up NIMASA’s revenue generating capacity for the nation, rather than detract from it. His representative at Public Hearing in the National Assembly was in positive support for the establishment of the NMU, Okerenkoko. No gain is foreseeable for the Niger Delta by the unnecessary comments of Dr. Peterside. Worse still, his reported denial that he is opposed to establishment of NMU did not refute his reported resolve that he is not going to fund the institution”. the statement added.

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