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January 29th, 2016 Protest in Delta State Government House, Asaba over alleged cancellation of Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko
January 29th, 2016 Protest in Delta State Government House, Asaba over alleged cancellation of Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko

  • It is dehumanizing to reduce our Maritime University to a mere polytechnic —Gbenekama

There have been indications of fresh tension in the volatile Niger Delta Region over the Federal Government plan to reduce the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko to a federal polytechnic awarding OND and HND.

The plan for the purported downgrading of the University on the part of the government was made known by the Minister of Petroleum for State, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu during a book launch titled “7 Big Wins to Grow the Oil Sector” on Tuesday this week.

Reacting to the purported relegation of the University, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, the Chief Mobilization Officer of Gbaramatu Kingdom in a statement issued in Warri yesterday have lambasted the federal government to rescind their decision of downgrading the university, while describing it as disturbing, insulting, disgraceful and dehumanizing to the people of Niger Delta, particularly the Ijaws of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State.

While rejecting the planed reduction of the Maritime university, Gbenekama stated that the federal government ought to look at the desires of Niger Deltans in dealing with them and not only taking their wealth in developing other regions while they continue to live in lamentable conditions.

Chief Godspower Gbenekama
Chief Godspower Gbenekama

“For avoidance of doubts, we reject this plan of the FG. The government is suppose to look at the aspirations and desires of the people in dealing with them. But for the people of Niger Delta and Gbaramatu in particular, the best thing for us is to take our resources to feed the nation and criminalise us before the committee of nations. We are not good enough to be educated, our areas is not good enough to be developed, both infrastructural and human capital development, that is the reason why the FG, through it’s militarization policy of the Niger Delta has rendered all our primary and secondary schools ineffective.

“The height of it, is to cancel the Maritime University which the immediate past administration sited at Okerenkoko with take off campus at kurutie in Gbaramatu kingdom.

“We see this action of the FG as a plan of calling the dog a bad name in order to hang it. We therefore, call on the FG to rescind it’s decision because both the lame and the blind, the incapacitated, the old and young, men and women would protest this action of the FG. It shows the insensitivity on the part of the FG in dealing with the issues of the Niger Delta.” Chief Godspower stated.

The Gbaramatu high Chief wonders on what went wrong that calls for such alleged cancellation, wondering why other universities established during the Jonathan’s era wasn’t downgraded as to why the Maritime University sited at Gbaramatu have to be the case.

“Whatever would have gone wrong with the maritime university that made the FG to reduce the status of the university to a polytechnic is what any serious minded Niger Deltan and Gbaramatu man in particular cannot understand.

Chief Godspower, therefore beckoned on the International Community to prevail on President Mohammadu Buhari to rescind his plan to reduce the institution to a polytechnic.

Frowning at the juxtaposing position of the purported cancellation of the Maritime university, he said “There is a petroleum training institute in Effurun and there is another Petroleum University in the same  Effurun. That they are establishing another petroleum institution in the same Warri environment is totally absurd. But the Maritime University is a specific university which addresses the marine needs of the Niger Delta and the marine needs of the Nigeria State as it is contiguous with the environment it is cited. It is not just a university or a school like all other conventional schools. The only one that is a little bit close to it, is the one at Oron in a very different state about four or five states away from Delta State. One cannot know what the present government has seen in the Ijaws of Warri and Gbaramatu in particular.” Godspower asserted.

Speaking on the importance of the University to the people of Niger Delta, Gbenekama explained that the institution would have contributed in no smaller measure in addressing youth restiveness, boosting the socio economic life of the people and to also boost the Marine Manpower of the Nigerian State.

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