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House Committee urges Maritime Academy Oron to settle contractors’ debts

 By Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni

 House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration on Friday urged Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, to pay-off debts to contractors to enable them complete all abandoned projects in the academy.

The Chairman of the Committee, Mohammed Umar-Bago, gave this advice during the oversight function and inspection by the committee members to the academy in Oron.

Umar-Bago also charged the institute to address over 6,000 petitions against the academy.

He said the new management should avoid any form of petition against the academy and pay more attention to staff welfare, promotions and retirements.

He said there were several uncompleted projects in the academy because the contractors were not paid for the service rendered so far, adding that the contractors should be paid for them to complete the projects.

“I want to charge this management on staff welfare, promotion and retirement; this should be our focus for 2018 budget.

“We want to reduce acrimony to zero per cent and reduce the issue of petition we also want to reduce every forms of dissatisfaction and lack of motivation among staff.

“You are charged to look at the nominal roll and do the right thing, people that are due for promotion must be promoted and people that are due for retirement should be retired.

“We have more than 6,000 petitions from this academy only, we don’t have space for the petitions, pay all your contractors, this school is indebted that is why we have so many uncompleted projects,” he said.

He said the committee would support the management to move the institution forward, saying “it is sad seeing Nigerians going outside the country for courses that the academy can render’’.

Umar-Bago noted that some of the abandoned buildings can be converted to a primary school and a standard hospital, adding that the staff must be attached to the school.

He, however, charged the academy to have a good and harmonious relationship with the community through its corporate social responsibilities and recognising the plight of the people.

The chairman stressed that the academy does not belong to Oron or Akwa Ibom but the Federal Government and should not be personalised.

He noted that the academy could be relocated if lives and property are not secured.

He further commended the new rector and governing board of the academy on their efforts in addressing various challenges and restructuring the academy.

Commodore Emma Effedua (Rtd), the Rector of the Academy acknowledged that most of the challenges confronting the academy were surmountable.

He said that the major challenge faced by the academy was the uncompleted projects, which he was seeking the committee’s permission to convert some to hotel buildings for commercial purposes.

The rector said that the buildings can accommodate students that are for short courses, adding that such idea would help to generate more revenue for the academy.

He said that he was not comfortable with the maintenance fees paid by the cadets for uniforms and feeding.

Effedua added that he wanted fees to be included in the budget so that the management can stop the payment.

He, however, appreciated the committee for its support and advice.

He also promised that before September 2018, there would be positive change, while assuring the committee that all abandoned projects would also be completed.

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