Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi

Strong indications emerged that a gale of sack is currently looming at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria MAN, the country’s premier maritime training institution located in Oron, Akwa Ibom over alleged recent discovery by the Federal Government that majority of the members of staff are not qualified.

Recall that the government had instituted a six-man team of professionals headed by the former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Chief Adebayo Sarumi to restructure the academy, part of which led to the suspension of admission of new cadets into the institution for two years.

Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, who gave this indication in Abuja, Tuesday, hinted that the government has resolved to carry out a total overhaul of the academy established nearly40 years ago, following the discovery that many of the members of staff both teaching and non teaching staff are not qualified, a development that negatively affects the quality of cadets trained by the institution.

The Minister, who featured on a Ray Power Programme, Political Platform, alleged that many of the cadets trained at the academy are not ‘employable’ both at the local and global seafarers market, which is worrisome and must not be glossed over by any serious government.

He specifically cited the case of a lecturer in the academy with a doctorate degree in Geography, who could not mention the longest river in the world.

“There is very high incidence of poor quality of teachers at the academy and you can agree with me that this also affects the quality of cadets produced by the academy. Recently a lecturer in the academy with a doctorate degree in Geography was asked to mention the longest river in the world.

“He listed the Atlantic Ocean as one of the rivers in the world, is Atlantic Ocean a river? When he was asked where the Atlantic Ocean derives its source, he said the North Pole. Is this the kind of lecturer you want to teach your child?

“So we have decided to review everything comprising the quality of members of staff and even the standard of education at the academy with a view to bringing it up to global standards rather than churning out half-baked and unemployable cadets”, the Minister said.

On the public outcry that the suspension of admission process for two years was too long for such specialised institution of learning, he insisted that there was so much work to be done in restructuring and reviewing the academic policies of the academy, adding that it was better the government took out time and do it once for all.

The Minister also alleged that there is a large scale fraud by the former management of the academy under the late rector, Dr. Joshua Okpo.

He said that the Federal Government through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA released a total of N19billion, which represents five per cent of its annual budget, statutorily approved for the funding of the academy, regretting that the fund was mismanaged.

The Minister also noted that the approval limit of the rector was N250million, which he approved severally and deployed into the building of ‘huts’ instead of building edifices that would befit the status of such global institution.

He therefore foreclosed any possible change of mind in the efforts of the government to completely restructure and overhaul the entire machinery of the academy, which might lead to the disengagement of both academic and non academic staff.

The Minister had prior to the institution of the restructuring committee, sacked the registrar, Mr. Nkpandiok, who was appointed acting Rector following the death of Dr. Anayo Ishiodu and appointed Duja Effedua as the new rector on acting capacity.

The committee put in place last month, was given six months to complete its assignment, which include to supervise the restructuring of the academy towards effective manpower development in the country’s maritime industry.