Amid speculations that the federal government would in the next couple of days declare the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, a degree awarding institution or maritime university, stakeholders in the maritime industry have called for caution.
While a marine engineer, Ruben Nanakeme, thinks MAN Oron lacks the requisite academic manpower and other institutional framework required of such a specialised institution, Lucky Amiwero, president of the National Council of Managing Directors of Government Licenced Agents, says it would be suicidal to “politicise such a decision.”
According to Engr. Nanakene, MAN Oron is not comparable to similar institutions in Ghana, Egypt and South Africa, and sees no justification in such a hurried transition.
“What perhaps we need now is to begin to erect those structures that would prepare MAN Oron for the envisaged status,” he opined.
Nanakene asked rhetorically, “Do we have the right man power? Do we have the right environment? Do we have the funds to attract such high profile lectures that would meet the International Maritime Organisation’s specifications? Is the current five percent funding from NIMASA adequate for such an upgrade?”
In the words of Amimero: “We should be the hub in the maritime education in west and central Africa sub-region with more 70 percent of Cargo throughput destined for Nigeria, but is that the case as we speak? We (Nigeria) need at least three maritime universities as a nation but the question is if the funds are available,” he asked, explaining that the Buhari administration should concentrate on putting the right infrastructure in place at MAN Oron while taking a second look at the “banned” Maritime University, Okorenkoko.
Amiwero cautioned that government must look at the present facilities at the academy as according to him, most of the universities around today are glorified secondary schools, and upgrading MAN Oron should be a gradual process.
Engr. Nanakeme in correlating Amiwero’s view pleaded with the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, to draw a lesson from the recent upgrade of Yaba College of Technology and the Kaduna Polytechnic which he said went through a rigorous assessment process.

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