The Ijaw National Congress has disagreed with the Federal Government over its move to scrap the Nigeria Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Warri, Delta State. The Founding Secretary of the congress and a former Acting Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, Pastor Power Aginighan, warned that scrapping the institution had a high potential of shattering the peace being enjoyed in the Niger Delta because of the amnesty programme.
He also noted that the move by the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, to scrap the institution established by the former government was antithetical to President Muhammadu Buhari’s avowed commitment to addressing the challenges of the Niger Delta.
He appealed to the minister to review his position on the matter in favour of the immediate take-off of the university by directing the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to release the already appropriated take-off fund to the Nigeria Maritime University.
“The advantages of having the university far outweigh every argument to the contrary. Apart from capacity building for Nigerians in the maritime industry, bringing in direct foreign investment and arresting capital flight, the Nigeria Maritime University will play a key role in the re-integration phase of the amnesty programme,” he said.
Aghanighan added that the idea of citing a tertiary educational institution in the crude oil and gas-rich Gbaramatu Kingdom was first proposed and adopted under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo as a critical component in the roadmap to peace and sustainable development of the Niger Delta.
“Gbaramatu Kingdom and other communities in the coastal belt of Nigeria, springing from Eastern Obolo/Ibeno in Akwa- Ibom through Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Edo to Ilaje and Ese- Odo in Ondo State account for over 70 per cent of the crude oil and gas output of Nigeria with concomitant devastation of the environment and threats on their means of livelihood,” he said.