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ABANDONED PROJECTS LITTER MARITIME ACADEMY OF NIGERIA

A visit by the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime, Safety, Education and Administration to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, has exposed a can of worms about how contractors working on some of the projects in the academy abandon such jobs after being given mobilization fees.
The visit of the lawmakers was to condole with the management, staff and students of the Academy over the death of their Rector, Dr. Joshua Okpo, and to familiarize with the Academy’s management and environment, as well as perform their statutory functions.
The lawmakers were led by its Chairman, Muhammad Bago. He decried the state of infrastructure in the institution. He challenged the management to speed up measures aimed at enhancing development and standards in the institution, for the benefit of the nation.
Bago, who did not mince words in condemning the attitude of some of the contractors, said henceforth, the management of the institution should stop the award of new contracts. He urged them to ensure the completion of all pending contracts.
The Chairman also said his committee would not tolerate fragmentation of contracts while advising the management of the institution to see the members of the committee as partners in progress.
Reiterating the Committee’s displeasure over the number of uncompleted projects in the Academy, the Chairman said Academy’s contractors will be summoned to a meeting holding in Abuja, stressing that contractors who do not deliver their jobs within the stipulated time frame will have their contracts revoked and the funds recovered.
He also warned that defaulters will be prosecuted by the appropriate governmental body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which is saddled with the responsibility.
His words: “Let us apply conscience to what we are doing. We are all Nigerians. I am mostly touched with the level of uncompleted projects here. There is no road network here. Some buildings have been completed while some are still at the foundation level. We cannot continue to sink billions of naira here and everything is half done.
“We are not going to tolerate corruption. This Committee will meet with all the contractors. We can bring the contractors to book. Nobody is above the law. We will summon them, if they fail to come, we will declare them wanted. We need to change in this academy. Contractors need to be cautioned. We will not allow a situation where contractors will receive our money and just abscond with it.
“On the official aspect of our oversight, you have been found wanting, not necessarily directly but indirectly. You are thinking of transforming to a university and you are given huge land and you went to sink a lot of money. We have since where you have sunk this money. But do we have value for the money? No, we don’t.
“Coming to the main bowl of the institution, we saw a lot of old and abandoned projects. My heart bleeds. Seriously, it bleeds. It is our mission as a committee that by the grace of God before the end of our tenure, your swimming pool, sports complex, the abandoned nautical school and any other projects that are within this institution will be completed.
“We as a Committee and as a parliament that is responsible, we are not going to erect any new project again. All your projects that you have started will have to be completed.”
Bago however expressed worry over the poor utilization of the Academy’s products, in this case the Cadets, and called for suggestive measures to tackle the embarrassing situation urging the Management to forward a formal request to the National Assembly for deliberation.
Also speaking, the House Member Representing Ikot Abasi/Mkpat Enin/Eastern Obolo Federal Constituency, Francis Uduyork, said the Academy being one of the oldest Maritime training institutions in West Africa deserves to be upgraded to a University and charged the Management to generate a constructive and well-articulated proposal in that respect for presentation to the committee.
He said: “We as a committee will work with you to ensure that this institution is accorded a deserving status. I believe this institution is one of the oldest of its kind in West Africa and so there is nothing wrong with it becoming a university, so your articulation in the proposal must be well constructed, so we can move this institution forward.”
He averred that the management could always count on the committee’s support as the committee will ensure that things are done rightly.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Registrar of the Academy, Mr. Mkpandiok Mkpandiok had welcomed the visitors to the academy, noting that their visit was timely given the present state of the institution.
Giving a brief history of the institution, he intimated the committee that the Academy, despite its constraints, has over the years been able to produce competent personnel operating in the Gulf of Guinea and beyond as well as those marine personnel who drive the Oil and Gas sector.
The Registrar also expressed optimism in the committee’s visit observing that it marks the beginning of better things for the Academy and called on the committee to use the powers within the ambit of the law to upgrade the Academy to the enviable status deserving of an institution of 40 years standing.
He said: “The Academy has delivered on its mandate of training competent personnel for the Maritime and Allied Industries, we have trained Master Mariners, Marine Engineers, Maritime Administrators and several other professionals. Development being a gradual process we still have a lot of challenges to surmount to be counted among the comity of maritime academics of the world. But we trust we can get there with your support.”
The lawmakers during the visit inspected the students’ hostels; staff quarters; sports complex; abandoned nautical school; simulation room and the jetty. (Culled from The Nation)

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