The bill for establishment of Nigerian Maritime University at Okerenkoko in Delta State, on Wednesday scaled second reading at the Senate. This is coming months after Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, announced scrapping of the project.
The bill sponsored by James Manager (PDP-Delta) was unanimously supported by the senators after he made a moving case for the establishment of the university.
The groundbreaking of the proposed school was done by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 and, according to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, physical asset were on site. However, there has been no law backing the establishment of the university.
Mr Amaech addressing the senate committee on maritime on January 19 had announced the scrapping of the project, which was to be financed by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration Agency.
The Minister had also on June 14 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State said the Federal Government lacked the funds to continue with school; and that unless the N13 billion spent on the procurement of the land for the project was retrieved, the project stood scrapped.
But the Senate on Wednesday shunned the transport minister, ensuring the bill for the establishment of the Maritime University scaled second reading.
Senator Manager had argued that maritime sector had huge potentials and that Nigeria should have a university for the purpose of producing capable manpower for the sector which, as he said, is currently dominated by foreign interests.
Senator Fauster Ogola (PDP-Bayelsa) moved that the bill be read for the second time was seconded by stating that the legal backing given to the school would make Nigeria become a hub of manpower development in the Maritime sector.
He said Nigeria would be the first to have maritime university in West Africa once the bill received approval of the National Assembly ultimately.
Senators Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos) and Jibrin Barau (APC-Kano) also supported the bill.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, called for a voice vote and the Senators unanimously responded ‘ayes’, Mr. Saraki ruled the bill be referred to the committee on tertiary education and Tetfund.
Also, the Senate made progress on the bill to make the Maritime Academy in Oron, Akwa Ibom State a degree awarding institution. The bill, proposed by Effiong Nelson (PDP-Akwa Ibom) was read for the second time.