By David Oladimeji
The Senate today at plenary, passed a bill to upgrade the Maritime Academy, Oron in Akwa-Ibom into a full-fledged University for Maritime Studies.
Also passed was a bill to establish the Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Ogoja, Cross River.
Both bills were passed after the presentation and consideration of two separate reports by the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.
Sen. Sandy Onuh (PDP- Cross River) in a presentation on behalf of the Committee’s Chairman, Sen. Ahmad Babba Kaita (APC-Katsina) said upgrading the Academy into a university would help Nigeria in achieving the prerequisites of the International Maritime Organisation Convention on standard of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.
According to him, the university will afford students the opportunity to specialise in international shipping and waterways transportation, port operations, management as well as exploitation and exploration of oil and gas as boost for Nigeria’s economy.
He observed that Nigeria presently recorded losses in the maritime sector, a development which was largely due to deficits in manpower and seafarers.
He decried that the country committed resources in search of university degrees, postgraduate research degrees and professionals from all facets of the maritime industry outside Nigeria.
“The maritime environment requires highly trained personnel to manage the country’s enormous natural endowment and resources on our offshore, international shipping, oil and gas and expansion of coastline with waterways for a viable coastal and inland water transport industry,” he said.
He said the upgrade of the Maritime Academy into a university would benefit host communities in the South-South geopolitical zone and the country as a whole.
Senate also received the report of the Committee on Education (Basic and Secondary) on oversight visits to Ministry, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The report was laid during plenary by Sen. Eyakenyi Akon Etim (PDP- Akwa-Ibom ) on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Ibrahim Gaidam (APC-Yobe)