By Nuel Suji – The Senate on Thursday passed for second reading a bill seeking to upgrade the Maritime Academy, Oron from a diploma to a degree-awarding institution.
The bill for aims to make the institution a foremost specialist maritime centre that would save the nation resources spent annually to train Nigerian maritime cadets abroad.
The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Nelson Offiong (PDP, Akwa-Ibom), was not on the floor of the Senate on Thursday.
The bill is seeking an Act to repeal the maritime academy Nigerian Act laws of the federation of Nigeria and to establish Federal University of Maritime studies, Oron, Cross River State.
Barau noted that,“In 1977 the federal government established the nautical college of Nigeria with the mandate to provide practical skill based training for the ship board officers for maritime time industry.
“In 1988, it was elevated to the present status of maritime academy of Nigeria with a statutory mandate to train all levels and categories of personal, required for the effective operation of various facets of the maritime academy industry. The institution started the training of other marine officers to serve maritime related services.
“It is presently the only institution in Nigeria that provides the full range of professional education contained in the requirements of international maritime, however the highest certificate issued is national diploma. Other parts of the country issue degree certificates to the graduates which makes ours paid lower than their pairs.
“It was resolved that the institution becomes a degree awarding institution and the foremost specialist maritime training core maritime professionals, sea-going and on shore materials, maritime, ship building, port operations and off shore oil and gas.
“Adequate funding is needed to further expand the industry’s curriculum in maritime off shore oil and gas sector. It would produce more graduates in the maritime sector. Improvement in the quality of maritime academy if awarded in order to export our force to other countries.”