The senate has passed a bill to upgrade the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron, Akwa-Ibom state, into a full-fledge university for maritime studies.
It also passed a bill to establish the Institute of Information and Communication Technology in Ogoja, Cross River state.
Both bills were passed during plenary on Wednesday after the presentation and consideration of two separate reports by the senate committee on tertiary institutions and TETFUND.
Sandy Onuh, a senator from Cross River, gave the presentation on behalf of Ahmad Babba Kaita, the committee’s chairman.
Sandy said upgrading the Academy into a university would help Nigeria in achieving the prerequisites of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) convention on standard of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.
He added that the university will afford students the opportunity to specialise in international shipping and waterways transportation, port operations, management as well as exploitation and exploration of oil and gas as boost for Nigeria’s economy.
He observed that Nigeria presently recorded losses in the maritime sector, a development which was largely due to deficits in manpower and seafarers.
He decried that the country committed resources in search of university degrees, postgraduate research degrees and professionals from all facets of the maritime industry outside Nigeria.
“The maritime environment requires highly trained personnel to manage the country’s enormous natural endowment and resources on our offshore, international shipping, oil and gas and expansion of coastline with waterways for a viable coastal and inland water transport industry,” he said.
He said the upgrade of the Maritime Academy into a university would benefit host communities in the south-south geopolitical zone and the country as a whole.
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