Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Senate tuesday said the establishment of a Maritime University of Nigeria in Niger Delta region to provide manpower needs for the maritime industry was not negotiable.
But two communities in Delta State are at logger-heads with each other over the choice of the place to site the university.
At a one-day public hearing on two bills meant to provide a framework for the university, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said the establishment of the universities would provide the needed manpower services that would be of great help to the maritime industry in Nigeria.
He said when established, the university would provide massive employment opportunities for the youth and help to save billions of foreign exchange for the country.
He also said the university would serve as the platform to ferry people abroad for maritime related education in addition to other opportunities of higher education for students.
Saraki challenged Nigerians to take advantage of the industry which he said had denied the country valuable revenues which resulted in stagnation of the cabotage industry in the country.
He said: “The eight Senate is sensitive to the plight of the Niger Delta region. It is expected that given this Maritime University, Okerenkoko a full legal backing, some of the sentiments or resentment which some people have haboured in establishing a university in the Niger Delta there would be increased economic activities and accelerated development.”
Earlier, Chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Senator Jibrin Barau, said the federal government had seen the need to establish a Maritime University in Nigeria.
In another development, the Senate Committee on Aviation had vowed to do everything within its constitutional powers to block leakages in the aviation sector. Making this pledge when Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and Nigerian Meteorological agency (NIMET) appeared before the committee to defend their 2017 budgets yesterday, Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Bala Na’Allah, said the legislature would block all avenues for wastage which he said had led to stagnation in the sector over the years.
“Here in the Senate and under my watch, it will not be business as usual. For the AIB, it must be up and doing in its responsibility by ensuring that reports on accidents in the sector are made available at the right time,” he said.