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CRISIS IMMINENT, as Ijaw youths protest Minister’s attempt to relocate Maritime University

…condemn FG’s interference in Institution’s issues

Ijaw’s frontline youths group, Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, has condemned the attempt by officials’ illegal attempt to effect the relocation of the proposed Maritime University.

In a tersely-worded press statement titled “RE: CORRECT LOCATION OF PROPOSED MARITIME VARSITY IN DELTA STATE: A INVITATION TO CRISIS IN THE NIGER DELTA REGION”, the group lambasted the ministry, headed by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, for trying to draw back the hands of the clock in the progress already made by the various stakeholder in the institution’s take-off.

The statement signed and released by the President of the group, Comrade Eric Omare, wondered why the Ministry’s officials would want to cause a fresh crisis in the issue of the relocation of the University, when the National Assembly, have already passed the bill for its take-off.

IYC, explained that one H. A. Tahir, an officer in the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, has inadvertently issued a memo allegedly correcting the name of the community for the location of the Maritime University, supposedly on the strength of a Supreme court judgment, which the body said has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

The statement reads; ‘‘Our attention has just been drawn to a publication in the Vanguard newspaper of Friday, January 5, 2017 at page 12 wherein one H. A. Tahir, an officer in the office of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice issued a memo to the effect that the correct name of the community hosting the Nigerian Maritime University should be Okerenghigho and not Okerenkoko.

”The Attorney General is said to have given the advise on the strength of a Supreme Court judgment. The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) wishes to responds as follows to set the records straight THAT:

“The site or community wherein the Nigerian Maritime University is situated has never been known, addressed or called Okerenghigho at any time. The actual, historical and legally recognized name of the host community to the Nigerian Maritime University is Okerenkoko. The name Okerenkoko is reflected in all historical and political documents and institutions including the Okerenkoko Primary School, Okerenkoko Secondary School, Okerenkoko electoral ward in all electoral documents, Okerenkoko General Hospital etc.

“There is no community known as Okerenghigho within and around the area where the Nigerian Maritime University is situated. Therefore, the purported Supreme Court case of James Uluba and others v. Chief E. E. Sillo has nothing to do with the land wherein the Nigerian Maritime University is situated.

The group averred that the Federal Government is obviously not ready for the take-off of the institution and that the latest attempt to relocate it is an attempt to sabotage the exercise.

It continues; ”It is now obvious and crystal clear that the Buhari led administration does not want the Nigerian Maritime University to start academic activities hence,  this new diversionary strategy to cause unnecessary inter-ethnic crisis in the area wherein the university is situated and the Niger Delta at large.

” The Federal government is obviously coming up with this strategy because their earlier tactics to use corruption to stop the take-off of the institution has failed.

”We strongly believe that the Federal government wants to instigate another round of crisis in the Niger Delta region, just as it is using Fulani herdsmen to instigate crisis to kill  innocent citizens all over the country especially in the middle belt region.

”The Ijaw Nation which owns the name of the site of the Nigerian Maritime University is, and would remain Okerenkoko. There is no amount of misrepresentation that can change the name from the actual name to Okerenghigho or any other name. It is elementary knowledge that institutions all over the world are known by the name of the place where they are situated and not otherwise.

”We strongly call on the National Assembly to ignore the memo from the office of the Attorney General, as it was done in bad faith so as to instigate another round of crisis in the Niger Delta region. If the federal government is not interested in the take-off of the Maritime University, it should say so expressly and not instigate another crisis in the Niger Delta region.

”It would be recalled that during the public hearing on the bill to establish the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, similar presentation was made by the Itsekiri delegation but it was rightly ignored by both Houses of the National Assembly.

“We thank the National Assembly for standing on the side of truth and urge that the already passed bill should be presented for the Presidency’s assent”.


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