By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, has expressed bitterness on the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration over alleged statement credited to it.

IYC said in the said statement, that the Committee referred to Maritime University sited at Okerenkoko, Warri south west local government area of Delta state as a “Proposed University”.

The position of IYC was made known in a press release signed by the president, Pereotubo Oweilaemi Esq., and made available to our correspodent in Asaba.

He noted that the institution has students who would enter into their 300 level in December, stating that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has been to the school to see things for himself.

“The attention of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), worldwide has been drawn to a statement accredited to the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration where it made reference to the Maritime University, Okerenkoko as “Proposed University”. We do not want to believe that the media reports of the said House of Reps Committee represented the true position of the Committee, we wish to promptly respond to correct the misconceptions being bandied by either Committee or the media reporters.

“The Maritime University, Okerenkoko is a growing concern as the School has been in existence since 2017. The Institution has matriculated students in two consecutive academic sessions, while students are already going to 300 level in the next academic session which will commence in December this year.

“The University has hosted the Vice President of this Country, His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo twice. It has also hosted officials of the prestigious Caribbean Maritime University, Jamaica. It must be noted also that students of the Institution are currently undergoing Internship and Industrial Training programmes across the Country. Why should such an institution be referred as a proposed university? What the House Committee needs to know is that the school has been duly accredited by NUC and all other regulatory institutions including UTME with several of the government’s agencies havev visited it to inspect and confirm the facilities on ground.

On the report by the Committee that no structure is on ground to account for the money NIMASA has spent on the School, Oweilaemi said: ” While we do want to impeach on how money appropriated to the University is spent as that will be the responsibility of relevant government’s agencies, our concern is the impression wrongly created that no structure is on ground.

“For what is so glaring to the world, the School has state of the art facilities at its temporary site, kurutie in the Gbaramatu Kingdom. The House Committee should come clearer if they are referring to the permanent site at Okerenkoko?

“Just as academic activities are busy going on at the temporary site, various intervention agencies have also executed different kinds of projects for the School such as: concrete pavement walkway, landing jetty, staffs and students utility boats, etc.

“Though we are not trying to usurp the functions of the House, we appeal that funds appropriated to the Maritime University, Okerenkoko should not be unduly withheld. The School is in dare need of funding as its sources of finance are not sufficient for its optimum performance.

“The House Committee should use this medium to prevail on the executive arm to immediately commence the construction of buildings at the permanent site, Okerenkoko. Already the School has admitted thousands of students from over 25 States of the Federation. There is an urgent need for academic activities to take place at the permanent site in order for the institution to admit more deserving Nigerians who want to acquire knowledge in maritime activities”, the statement added.

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