By Emma Amaize, Egufe Yafugborhi & Perez Brisibe
THE Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, has condemned the scrapping of the Nigerian Maritime University project in Okerenkoko, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, had said that the university which was said to have been proposed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, would be scrapped while all money spent on the project returned to the Federal Government.
Similarly, a leader at Okerenkoko, Warri South-West Local Council, Chief Michael Johnny, criticized the purported scrapping of the Maritime University in the riverside community.
Chief Johnny said: “I am urging the Minister of Transport to rescind his decision because it is not in the interest of Okerenkoko people of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State and even the entire Niger Delta region.”
Also, the Ama-Okosu of Ogbe Ijoh, Warri Kingdom, His Royal Majesty Couple Oromoni, Monbene II, National Coordinator of Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas, Prince Maikpobi Okareme, Ijaw leader, Chief Godspower Gbenekame, Okerenkoko leader, Chief Michael Johnny and others have asked the minister to rescind the decision.
HRM Oromoni said, “You (Amaechi) cannot scrap the university in Okerenkoko. Why is the government scrapping it? There is no reason for it to scrap the school. Assuming President Muhammadu Buhari sets up a university in the North and his tenure elapsed, does that warrant scrapping the institution.
“Amaechi, who is saying no one will go there to school, is Port-Harcourt safer than Delta State. Port Harcourt is more porous, security wise, than Delta. Amaechi is trying to create more problems in this country. Are there no security problems in where the minister comes from? With all the security problems in Port Harcorut, has it stopped people from schooling there?
“We are not asking Amaechi to send his children to the university, there are parents, who are very much interested in sending their children there to school.
“Scrapping the school will not help the current under development of the Niger Delta region. The Maritime University at Okerenkoko is synonymous with peace and development of the region. Our children will go there to school. We say the region is not developed and someone brought school to develop the area, they are saying it is scrapped, it is unacceptable to our people.”
Chief Gbenekame on his part, asked, “Are we Nigerians? The Ijaws of Niger Delta, the Ijaws of Gbaramatu, are we Nigerians? The Niger Delta people are they Nigerians? I am surprised. Unfortunately, the minister that sold the idea is a Niger Deltan.”
National Coordinator of the Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas, Prince Okareme, in chat with Vanguard, urged Amaechi, to rescind the decision.
He said: “If the problem is the terrain as the minister claimed, then he can relocate it to another Ijaw area in Delta State or preferably, the Delta School of Marine Technology, Bomadi should be taken over by the Federal Government.
“They say a man’s enemies are those from his own household. It is very unfortunate that this decision is not just from the minister. It is a decision taken by Federal Government. They should look at this decision and reverse it.”