Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Worldwide has berated former Rivers State Governor and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, over comments credited to him regarding the establishment of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, describing it as anti-Niger Delta.
The group, however, lauded the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, for standing with the people and endorsing the development of the Niger-Delta.
Ameachi had differed with Kachikwu at the Federal Government Town-Hall meeting at Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Monday. Amaechi defended the decision of the present administration to scrap the Maritime University project on the ground that the previous administration had paid too much to acquire a land for it.
Describing the project as a ‘misplacement of priority’, he said; “My argument about Okerenkoko is that the land alone is N13 billion. If you give me N13 billion, I will buy half of Lagos. That money has built the university already.”
However, Kachikwu said “First, let me say on Okerenkoko University, I disagree with the minister of transport,” adding that “any facility that is located in the South-South we should work close to developing it. I don’t care the circumstances under which you are placed.
“It’s not in my position to determine whether land was valued at N3 billion or 1N0 billion. The appropriate institution which is at the cost system will determine that. This has nothing to do with the development of infrastructure. And as far as I know, so much has already gone into the university.”
Reacting in a statement issued yesterday by its Spokesman, Eric Omare, IYC said; “We strongly condemn Amaechi’s anti-Niger Delta position and commend Kachikwu for standing with the people and endorsing the development of the Niger Delta. Kachikwu clearly demonstrated to the world that he is a worthy son and representative of the region.”
It stated that Amaechi’s comment about the acquisition of land for the setting up of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, is “completely wrong and deliberately made to justify his unpopular and anti-Niger Delta opposition to the establishment of the university.”
Explaining how the Maritime University was established, IYC stated that its permanent site is located at Okerenkoko town in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area which was acquired from Okerenkoko Community at an amount less than N2 billion against alleged claims by the minister.’’
Omare explained that after commencement of work at the permanent site, the Federal Ministry of Transport approached ex-MEND commander, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, who reportedly owned a diving school at Kurutie, another community in Gbaramatu to acquire his private diving school to be used as a temporary site for the university.
Stressing that the diving school at Kurutue was an existing school with state-of-the-art facilities and structures completely built before it was acquired, IYC stated that in response to the request of the transport ministry, Tompolo did his own valuation and arrived at about N15 billion, while the ministry also did their own valuation and arrived at N13 billion.
It stated that the completed diving school was then sold to the Federal Ministry of Transport at the valuation done by it.
“Therefore, it is a deliberate mischief for Amaechi who is now the Minister of Transport and has access to all relevant documents to claim that the land for the Maritime University was accquired for N13 billion. The land was bought for less than N2 billion.
“It was the temporary site, which is a completely built up land with structures and world class facilities that was acquired for about N13 billion, which again is far less than Ameachi’s N19 billion claim.”
IYC expressed surprise that Amaechi who opposed former President Jonathan for not developing the Niger-Delta is now leading efforts to undo the region in the present administration.
It also condemned his opposition to negotiation as a way out of the renewed militancy in the region, saying his position shows that he is against the success of the Buhari administration.
“IYC knows as a fact that it is some top federal officials and party chieftains of Niger-Delta origin in the Buhari administration like Amaechi who are against negotiation as a way out of the crisis and are frustrating government’s efforts to negotiate with stakeholders.”
The group, therefore, called on Buhari to completely disregard the claims of the transport minister on the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, as well as his opposition against dialogue over the renewed militancy in the region, saying his position is not in the interest of the federal government.

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