A Niger Delta based Non-Governmental Organization, Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), has described the recommendation to discontinue the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State by the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, as a decision made in bad faith.
It carpeted the minister who hails from the oil rich but impoverished region for backing such a retrogressive policy.
This is contained in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Sheriff Mulade and made available to newsmen.
The group, in the statement, called on the Federal Government to commence in earnest the construction of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, in Delta State.
The NGO advised the minister to withdraw the proposal, especially now that the 2016 Budget has been passed by the National Assembly,
According to it, the plan was not in the overall interest of the Gbaramatu Kingdom, which is host to many oil and gas facilities,
Part of the statement read: “We believe that scrapping the maritime university is not a good idea. This is an institution that was established by the preceding government and for a Minister in the person of Amaechi, a Niger Deltan, to make such a suggestion, smacks of insensitivity to the yearning of the people of the region for development. These are people who have been suffering from untold hardship due to oil exploration and exploitative activities.
“This is an area hosting a lot of oil and gas facilities including the Escravos Gas to Liquid Project, and yet the Minister had the temerity to say that no parent will allow his or her child to attend the university.’’
CEPEJ advised the Federal Government to do the needful by retracing its steps and resuming work on the university site, maintaining that the suggestion that only feasibility study was done on the institution was indicative that the Minister was out of touch with reality.
The NGO urged the Federal Government to send an independent body to visit the institution for on the spot assessment of the extent of work done and not rely on imaginary reports and fifth columnist to form its judgment and policy implementation.
The Center reiterated that the institution would not reinvigorate economic activities in the coastal community but would go a long way to engage the youth positively thus reducing youth restiveness and militancy as according to it, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”