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Gbaramatu Traditional Council condemns conversion of Maritime University to polytechnic

Ijaw leaders addressing the press.

Members of the Traditional Council of Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State have condemned the downgrading of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko to a polytechnic.

Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, had informed the Federal Government during the presentation of  a book: “7 Big Wins to Grow the Oil Sector” on October 27 in Abuja that the embattled degree-awarding Maritime University had been taken over by his ministry and converted to a polytechnic that will be awarding diplomas.

Acting secretary of Gbaramatu Traditional Council, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, who spoke to journalists in Warri described the action as vexatious and degrading.

“We find this presentation and plan annoying, disturbing, disgraceful, insulting, and dehumanizing.

“The issue of the Okerenkoko Maritime University was supposed to be a Pre-Niger Delta, Federal Government parley agenda which was part of the low hanging fruits that FG was supposed to deal with so as to build trust before the Niger Delta leaders and FG discussions and to show that the FG would be serious with the discussions.

“But to our surprise, without consultations, the FG had gone ahead to take a decision reducing the university to a Petroleum Ministry-run polytechnic that would award OND and HND certificates.

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,” he retorted.

Gbenekama said his people had rejected the plan, calling on the FG to rescind the decision “because the lame and the blind, the incapacitated, the old and young, men and women would protest this action of the FG.”

According to the Benemowei of the kingdom, the action shows “the insensitivity on the part of the FG in dealing with the issues of the Niger Delta.”