The Nigeria Premier Maritime Academy, MAN, Oron, in Akwa Ibom State, will be upgraded to a degree awarding institution soon.
Making this known during this year's graduation and passing out ceremony of cadets and students of the institution in Oron, the Minister of State for Transport, Prince John Okechkwu Emeka, said this will enable the academy develop manpower in other much-needed areas.
"In this regard, the issue of upgrading MAN, Oron, to a degree awarding institution is receiving close attention in my ministry and appropriate financial support was provided for it in the 2007/2008 Federal government budget," the minister said.
Represented by the Managing Director Shipper's Council of Nigeria, Captain Adamu Biu, the minister assured that Federal Government was taking steps to address the challenges facing the premier institution.
He reiterated government's unflinching commitment to making the academy one of the best maritime training institutions in the world.
Commending the staff and students for their excellent performance in past years, despite obvious challenges, the minister said funds would soon be made available for the completion of all abandoned projects in the institution.
Earlier in his address the rector of the academy, Mr. Nseyen Ebong, stated that in its 29 years of existence, the institution had striven to discharge its quota to the national development.
"To date, the academy has trained about 4,300 merchant navy officers and others for both shipboard and shore based operation.
Apart from this, more than 65,000 marine operation, mostly for home trade and offshore operations, have been trained to acquire relevant certification," he said.
Nseyen lamented the inadequate funding of the institution which, according to him, has constituted drawbacks in the academy's quest to match the best of maritime training institutions.
He, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to substantially increase its funding, and called on individuals, corporate bodies and state government to join hands with the Federal government to develop the academy.