By Providence Adeyinka
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has proposed to convert the NIMASA Science and Technical College, NSTC Okoloba in Delta State, into a skill acquisition center for Niger Delta youths on how to build ships and small watercraft.
Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, revealed this in a statement where he explained that the second option for the NSTC is to turn it into a satellite campus for the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko.
He said that the agency was directed by the Ministry of Education to the hands-off running of academic institutions since it is not its area of specialty adding that the NSTC facility was too massive and important to be abandoned and allowed to waste.
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