By Our Correspondent
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh has assured that the agency would not allow its facilities at the NIMASA Science and Technology College NSTC, Okoloba to waste, but would rather convert them a campus of the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU), Okerenko, Delta State.
Established in 2012 in Bomadi Local Government of Delta State, the NSTC was designed to be a demonstration secondary school NMU under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme NSDP as graduates from the school would be admitted directly into the maritime university but the school was shut few years after.
Part of the curricular of the NSTC was that every student was made to choose a trade subject comprising Nautical Science, Marine Engineering, Computer Science/Engineering and Transport Management, among several others, which were designed in line with the courses offered at the maritime university to enhance seamless admission into the NMU.
The DG, who made this disclosure during a recent chat with maritime journalists in Lagos, noted that he was excited when he discovered that the structures and facilities at the NSTC were of very high standards and thus resolved that such facilities and structures built with tax payers’ money would not be allowed to waste.
He noted that his first attempt at putting the school to use was to write the Delta State Government to take over the school since the running of a school was not part of main specialty areas of NIMASA, adding the Ministry of Education of the state would be in a better position to put the school to optimum use.
He however regretted that till date, he has not received any response from the government whether in the positive or negative, a development that made him to take the second action, which was to dispatch a delegation of procurement officers of the agency, who came with the report that the college had quality facilities and structures, which excited him.
The DG, who also disclosed that the agency has paid off all contractors’ outstanding debts, assured that the structures in the school comprising lecture theatres, classroom blocks, college halls, cafeteria, staff quarters, offices, inner roads and a swimming pool, among several others, which are more than 90per cent completed would all be fully completed and handed to the university, which is also funded by the agency.
Jamoh stated: “I have two proposals for the school, it is either we turn it into a skill acquisition center and make it private, or we deploy a carrot and stick approach which involves some of the Niger Delta youths that want skill in terms of ship repairs, in terms of building small craft ships and they would come there to learn.
“The second option is to turn the place to a campus of Nigerian Maritime University. We are still working on these two positions; we are yet to come out with a plan on what we need to do, but preferably, we would like to hand the facility over to the university after completion; this would be the best way to handle that mighty edifice and investment.
“The cost of maintaining the school was too high; we were directed by the ministry of education that every agency that is not specialized in terms of education should keep off on the issue of education, so we had to keep off on the issue of Maritime University Okerenkoko and we had to keep off on the technical college Okoloba. But with the University in Okerenkoko, every year, we provide funding for them so that it would not die.
“On the technical college, we wrote the Delta State Government to come and take it over, because it is not our specialty area.
‘‘For a long time, they didn’t respond, until I sent delegates to the school, when they came back with pictures, I was fascinated by the large structure.
“It doesn’t matter where it is situated, it is Nigeria’s money that was invested there, but now weeds have taken over the school. I asked the procurement department to go and evaluate what happened at the school, many of the contractors complained that they were not paid; I directed that the contractors should go back to the site and I paid their money. Now they are back to the site,” he said.
Recall that the school had graduated the first three sets of students under the Secondary School Certificate Examination SSCE but was shut in 2016, having graduated the first three sets, as it could not admit more students when the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party PDP government, under which the project started lost the presidential election to the currently ruling All Progressives Congress APC.