Lagos — Despite the opposition to the proposed establishment of another maritime academy by stakeholders, the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has justified the investment of N250 million into the establishment of the new academy.
Director General of the apex maritime agency, Dr. Ade Dosumu, at a madia parley in Lagos recently said that the establishment of the academy was as a result of the inability of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron to meet the demand of young Nigerians wishing to get maritime training annually. Dosumu said over 3,000 youths besiege the academy yearly for admission but far less then 1,000 are taken by the school management.
He noted that the establishment of a second maritime academy would help reduce the pressure on Oron, as well as give the nation's youths option in their pursuit of profession in the maritime industry.
Asked why the funds being pumped into the new academy is not used to develop that of Oront to which is in dare need of upgrading and knowing it has large acres of land, the NIMASA boss said the decision to establish the second academy was not that of the agency but government.
Government he noted only directed that NIMASA and the Education Tax Fund should pick up the bills for the establishment of the academy in Badagry.
He also explained that greater part of the N250 million so far pumped into the Badagry project has come from the tax fund.
On the non release of the five percent income accruable to the MAN as contained in the NIMASA Act, Dosumu explained that the Act did not specify that the five percent be given to MAN Oron, but to MAN which means that government had in mind the establishment of other maritime academy at the time of inclusion of the provision in the Act.
He said it is therefore wrong to expect NIMASA to hand over the entire five percent as contained in the Act to MAN, Oron.
On how much has so far been given to the existing academy and why such entitlement has been slow in getting to MAN, Oron, Dosumu explained that it is not in the agency's place to decide on who and when to release funds but that the ministry transportation directs it to do so.
Stakeholders are of the opinion that the Badagry project which was conceived during the past regime of Olusegun Obasanjo, was only a conduit-pipe established to line the pockets of a few individuals.
They noted that after spending about N250 million on the Badagry project, not one student was trained in the last one year noting that a lot more would have been achieved if the half that amount had been spent to develop that of Oron.