The recent campaigns of calumny against the office and person of the Rector of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron are intended to smear the enviable reputation of Dr. (Amb.) Joshua Okpo and bring to disrepute government’s sincere efforts at transforming the academy to a world class maritime institution.
Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron is a Federal Government-owned Institution given the mandate to train seafarers who are deemed Merchant Navy Officers. One other cardinal element of the kind of training offered in the Academy which commands prominence is that discipline which emanates from regimentation. The high-level discipline of Cadets ensures that the graduate-cadet comes out moulded in both learning and in character. The moulding of Cadets character has therefore conditioned the minds of most staff of the Academy on positive, progressive action.
The Rector and Management of the Academy in the last four years have ensured that the Academy remained a responsible and responsive corporate body, with high regard for the principle of due process, accountability and transparency in government business/affairs.
As a Parastatal of the Federal Government, the Academy has a Supervisory Ministry as well as other vital organs of Government statutorily assigned to ensure proper, efficient and effective utilisation of financial, material and human resources given to the Academy. These bodies also ensure Checks and Balances are put in place strictly for accountability and transparency purposes. Besides the Federal Ministry of Transport, we have the highly respected Senate Committee on Marine Transport and the House Committee on Marine Transport, besides other reputable teams of external auditors, including auditors from NIMASA who occasionally visit the Academy just as is the case with most Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Companies.
Recent seemingly sponsored attacks on the person and office of the Rector of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron and on some of his staff are not only hollow but mischievous, malicious and misleading. The accusers of the Academy claimed that Amb. Joshua Okpo collected the sum of N600, 000,000.00 from the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) being its due Statutory Fund for projects sited in or owned by the institution. Correct. They went further to state that “this colossal amount and subsequent ones were siphoned off and embezzled through phony contracts”. Incorrect. For the avoidance of doubts and the presentation of facts (supported with actual-state-of development pictures) to Nigerians and all well meaning people, about the Academy, we enumerate the following projects:
I. CONSTRUCTION OF 4 FLATS IN ONE STOREY SENIOR MANAGEMENT STAFF QUARTERS – which is situated in the Academy’s Phase One and is about 85% completed and fenced round. We have three number of such facility being built within that particular vicinity.
II. CONSTRUCTION OF ONE STOREY CLASSROOM BLOCK A – which is on Phase Two and is 40% done.
III. CONSTRUCTION OF ONE NO. BUNGALOW CLASSROOM BLOCK “A” – Located on Phase One of the Academy is at present 98% completed, with Electrical, Plumbing, Finishes and External works almost completed.
IV. CONSTRUCTION OF ONE NO. 20 OFFICES ROOM BUNGALOW FOR THE BURSARY – This facility which is on Phase Two of the Academy is 100% Completed and was occupied by the relevant officers and staff in August this year (2015).
V. CONSTRUCTION OF 20 BLOCKS OF THREE BEDROOM FLAT TWIN BUNGALOW STAFF QUARTERS – situated on Phase Three of the Academy is 100% completed and is expected to alleviate the accommodation plight of Staff.
VI. UPGRADING OF WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM IN THE ACADEMY – Which is on Phase One of the Academy would contribute immensely to the water supply sufficiency of the institution as the number of Cadets, Students and Staff continue to increase. The project is 40% completed.
VII. PROVISION OF DEDICATED LINES FROM EKET SUBSTATION FOR POWER SUPPLY IMPROVEMENT TO THE ACADEMY MAIN CAMPUS – The base of this project is Phase Three and when completed will ensure steady, constant supply of electricity to the Academy from the National grid. It is expected that the overflow from this source will also service residents of Oron town.
VIII. SUPPLY OF EQUIPMENT FOR SEAMANSHIP LABORATORY – These state-of-the-art equipment which are installed in the Second Marine Engineering Workshop of the Academy are also digitalized and 95% completed.
Other Projects Under The NIMASA Statutory Fund Include:
IX. CONSTRUCTION OF FIRE STATION FOR THE ACADEMY’S BOATYARD – Which is 100% completed and close to the institution’s critical facilities located at the Academy’s Water-Front/Boatyard and Jetty.
X. CONSTRUCTION OF OVERHEAD UNDERGROUND WATER TANK AND BOREHOLE – This project is 100% completed also and is designed to guarantee adequate water supply on the basis of 24/7, and to ensure proper sanitation and promote good health in the environment.
XI. SUPPLY OF 30-SEATER-BOAT – This project is 100% completed and is expected to enhance the training capability and IGR base of the Academy.
XII. SUPPLY OF 30-SEAT SEA BUS – Which is 100% completed is also intended to improve the quality of the Academy’s training, safety measures and enhance its IGR.
XIII. CONSTRUCTION OF PAVILION AND CONCRETE STAND AT THE NEW FOOTBALL FIELD – This project is 100% completed and will add to the value of sporting activities in the Academy.
XIV. CONSTRUCTION OF WINDLASS FOR THE ACADEMY’S BOATYARD – This has been completed 100% and would complement the Slipway project in the Academy.
XV. RENOVATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE BLOCK – This monumental project has been 100% completed with key officers and many other staff of the Academy occupying offices in the building of over 20 years, which before now had no roof. The roof is excellent and the walls are claudded.
XVI. CONSTRUCTION OF 200- CAPACITY MALE CADETS HOSTEL IN PHASE THREE – Which is 45% completed is a giant project at the completion of which Cadets’ accommodation problem would be drastically reduced.
XVII. RENOVATION /EQUIPING OF CENTRAL REFECTORY/CADETS’ SMOKEROOM AND KITCHEN – This project is 100% completed and has continued to receive commendations as one of the projects which has enhanced the value of Cadets’ training and life generally, and is considered second to none in the nation.
XVIII. RENOVATION OF ACADEMIC BLOCK– which is almost completed is one other facility designed to promote conducive teaching and learning for lecturers and Cadets/Students respectively. The mega-structure is located on Phase Two of the Academy, and for more than 20 years also had no roof. Today the roofing is classy in outlook and quality.
XIX. CONSTRUCTION OF THE RECTOR’S RESIDENCE (QUARTER 21) ON PHASE ONE – which has been fenced and is 95% completed, is designed to enhance the smooth operations of the Rectorate as well as the status of that office.
XX) CONSTRUCTION OF 3 BLOCKS OF ONE STOREY CLASSROOM BLOCKS– which are located on Phase Two and 100% completed also has MAN Consultancy Services Directorate occupying one of the Storey buildings.
XXI) RENOVATION OF REGIMENTAL UNIT BLOCK– which is 100% completed is a modernised structure with comfortable offices which have been occupied by the regimental Unit Commander, his 2nd –in- Command and other Officers and Ratings of Nigeria Navy who directly superintend the Cadets on regimental and disciplinary matters.
These are some of the numerous projects the Okpo-led Management have embarked upon significantly in the first tenure of his administration. There are several others dotting the Academy’s massive landscape of phases One, Two and Three including internal roads construction of Roads 12 and 13 on phase Three. Even beyond the Academy itself, Ambassador Joshua Okpo has a good number of community-based projects; some completed while others were ongoing, which constitute part of the institution’s Corporate Social Responsibility.
These are time, financial, material and energy consuming projects. The appropriate authorities vested with the know-how on evaluation of projects, completed and on-going, are the only ones who after due evaluation and assessment could pass the judgments Oron Youth Movement (OYOM) arrogated to itself.
The questioning of staff DTAs for official trips with due approvals (some of which are given by the Federal Ministry of Transport) with their corresponding auditing, smacks of gross ignorance, arrogance and undue interference with due process in the running of government’s business in the Academy on the part of this disgruntle group. Not to fathom the questioning of the Rector’s DTAs. We intend not to join issues with the group on its internal leadership crisis which has lingered for years now.
It must be stated for the avoidance of doubt that the laws of the land, via the instrumentality of the Freedom of Information Act (2011, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), make provision for how to obtain information properly from any government establishment or agency. What OYOM has unwittingly done is an attempt at legalising illegality. It is an unfortunate thing to abuse the grave disposition of the Rector towards the promotion of peaceful co-existence and development.
We are not regretting the advent of social media network into Nigeria’s Socio-economic and Political mileux but lament the near complete absence of investigative and verification ethics characteristic of mainstream media reporting(in the social media platform).
We sincerely hope we have not belaboured our esteemed followership and admirers with our avalanche of information. We equally would like to draw the curtain on these orchestrated allegations at this juncture, while inviting all who want authentic information about the Academy in whatever aspect to visit the Academy. You can also visit our website- www.manoron.edu.ng and our Face Book page – Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron or email us at email@example.com.
The Public Relations Desk