May 31, 2011

FG working toward transforming MAN, Oron to a university

By Godfrey Bivbere

Federal Government is making efforts at repositioning the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, Akwa Ibom state, to become the nation’s premier maritime university, Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, has said.

Speaking at the passing out parade and graduation ceremony of cadets of the academy, the Minister said that the Federal Ministry of Transport “is encouraged by the fact that all hands are on deck to ensure that the university status dream for the academy becomes a reality sooner rather than later’’.

The minister said the Federal Government was committed to raising the standard of learning in the academy and transforming it into a maritime university. We are equally determined to develop more academies in the country in order to address the rising skill gap in our maritime industry, Suleiman said.

According to him, we must as a nation remain competitive in this dynamic global environment. The minister said the ministry was grateful to the government of Akwa Ibom State under the leadership of Governor Godswill Akpabio who graciously paid compensation of about N330 million to the Eyo-Abasi Community in Oron for the acquisition of the additional 31 hectares needed to enable the academy meet the requirements stipulated by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

He said this achievements could not have been possible if there was no cordial relationship between the academy and its host community. He commended the positive roles played by the MAN-HOST Community relations committee over the years.

Gov. Akpabio who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Engineer Patrick Ekpotu called on the Federal Government to match the commitment of the state government and approved that the school metamorphosed into a world class university. The governor requested that government should release all outstanding monies to the school to facilitate its transformation to a university.

We are proud of this institution and its accomplishments, he said.

“We urge the graduands to imbibe the tradition of discipline, hardwork and diligence, the governor said. The Rector of the Academy, Mr Nseyen Ebong said to-date, the academy had trained and graduated more than 4,000 merchant navy officers, shore-based personnel and 5,000 ratings for ship board operations. According to him, more than 10,000 personnel of various agencies had been trained in Basic Safety and special courses for all forms of marine operations.

He recalled that since the inclusion of Nigeria into the White List in 2001, the academy had trained more than 12,000 Nigeria seafarers and more operators who required certification in accordance with the provisions and requirements of the revised STCW Convention.

Ebong said from 2004 to date, the academy had spent more than N250 million on the upgrading of facilities for Basic Safety Courses. Completed and on-going projects in the academy are; the library, N350 million worth of items of laboratory and workshop equipment; internal road project, 50-seat computer training centre; and the jetty/boat project which Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) provided funds for.