Oil producing communities operating under the auspices of Oil Prodducing Area Association of Nigeria,OPAAN, has kicked against plans by the federal government to relocate the Maritime university from Okerenkoko to Ibusa in Delta state.
In a letter to President Buhari, the group described the planned relocation as insensitive, provocative and capable of heightening the the precarious security situation in the oil producing communities. Part of the letter, which was made available to the Nigerian Pilot read: “It has come to our notice that the Nigerian Maritime University Okerenkoko is being considered for relocation to a proposed Navy Secondary School, Ibusa, Delta State.
“This senseless and provocative plan was credited to Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok- Ete Ibas during an inspection of facilities in naval formation at Effurun,Delta State as widely reported in the media, particularly the Guardian Newspaper of July 1, 2016. “This is nothing but an insensitive act, capable of inciting the oil producing communities in Delta State and the entire Niger Delta region against Your Excellency’s administration. “One would not doubt the fact that the unguarded comments of some of your close aides, such as this emanating from the Naval Chief, are out to cause more problems for Mr. President in the Region.”
“Otherwise, such mindless statements and plans would not be conceived at a time, such as this, when Mr President is seeking measures in resolving the challenges of renewed restlessness in the Niger Delta region. Whatever parameter that were banked upon by the Chief of Naval Staff and any other quarters in this matter, can never be tenable, as both Maritime and Naval activities are basically sited around coastal advantages worldwide which lbusa does not possess, but which are attractively, richly and highly present in Okerenkoko, and its environs. “In clear essence, Maritime can be defined as ‘connected with the sea, especially in relation to naval matters.’ In another definition, it can be said to be ‘living or found in or near the sea.So where does lbusa belong in these definitions?
“Okerenkoko is at the bank of the Escravos River which is about five nautical miles to the Atlantic Ocean. As of today, Okerenkoko can only be accessed by ship, boats and other forms of river crafts. “But Ibusa which is a host of the ongoing construction of a purported Naval Secondary School, is purely landlocked, surrounded by large mass of land at about1,000ft above the sea level. The only means through which the mislocated proposed Naval Secondary School can be assessed is by land transportation. “In fact, we hereby call on Mr. President to note and reprimand Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete lbas as Chief of Naval Staff, because of his insensitive and inadequate knowledge for actualization of sustainable peace in the riverine Niger Delta Region. “We should not be misconstrued as having being against the Ibusa people and land, but in administration of judicious deployment of resources in the midst of scarcity such as ours, the very thought of locating a Naval College at lbusa, in the first instance, is a practically misplaced consideration. “How does one explain that a Naval Secondary School which proportion of the national revenue.”
They pointed out that the Federal Government had already committed huge funds into the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, in terms of acquisitions, construction and development of infrastructure, in both the permanent and temporary sites, with the temporary site fully ready to support the take off of the University. They added that a Governing Council and Principal Officers of the University have already been duly appointed and have resumed work, before things were “unwisely put on hold, amounting to seemingly killing the baby after naming ceremony. “Any idea to relocate the University out of Okerenkoko will amount to wastage of the Federal Government’s present scarce resources, rubbing salt into a festering sore, and above all, thereby heating up the fragile security situation in the riverine area of Delta State which is already biting-hard on the crude oil mono-economy of Nigeria.