The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill seeking to upgrade the Maritime Academy, Oron in Akwa Ibom State, into a full-fledged University of Maritime Studies.
This followed the presentation and consideration of two separate reports by the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.
A statement signed by the Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, disclosed that the lawmakers also passed a bill to establish the Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Ogoja, Cross River State.
According to the statement, “Senator Sandy Onuh (PDP, Cross River Central), in a presentation on behalf of the Committee’s Chairman, Ahmad Babba Kaita (APC, Katsina North), said upgrading the Academy into a university would help Nigeria achieve the prerequisites of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) convention on standard of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.
“The university would 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 a boost for Nigeria’s economy.” Onuh said.
He observed that owing to deficits in manpower and seafarers, Nigeria is incurring losses in the maritime sector “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.”
The lawmaker also noted that the upgrade of the Maritime Academy into a university would benefit host communities in the South-South geopolitical zone and Nigeria as a whole.