By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke

ABUJA—IT was a mild drama yesterday at the Senate when leaders of Gbaramatu community, an Ijaw speaking area, and Omadino community, an Itsekiri speaking area, in Delta South senatorial district of Delta State, vehemently disagreed with each other over the location of Nigeria Maritime University, NMU.

The university, which was established by former President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2015, is located at Okerenkoko, just as Itsekiri leaders called on the Senate to relocate the institution to Okerenghigho in Omadino Community, saying the movement became imperative in consonance with a valid court judgment.

The Maritime University site in Okerenkoko

The clash on where the university is presently situated came up when Senator Jibrin Barau led Senate Committee chairman on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, invited representatives of the two feuding communities to make their submissions during the public hearing on a bill for an Act to establish the NMU, Okerenkoko and for other related matters thereto.

The bill was sponsored by Senator James Manager, PDP, Delta South.

At the public hearing Chief Fedude Zimughan, who spoke on behalf of other Ijaw leaders, accused Itsekiri representatives  of obtaining a ‘black market’ court judgment, even as he stressed that the judgment in question had been set aside by another court as the hearing would come up soon.

He said: “They got a black market judgment and it cannot stand. The judgment has been set aside. We have filed a brief. It will be prejudicial for us to comment. But it is insulting for them to rubbish us when we took the Itsekiri in when they needed help. When the Gbaramatu people became aware of the matter at the Court of Appeal, they applied as parties interested and were rightly joined by the Court of Appeal. The contention of the Gbaramatu people on appeal was upheld by the Court of Appeal. The judgment obtained by Ugborodo people was consequently set aside and the case remitted back to the High Court for trial de novo.”

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