The Acting Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Mr Mkpadiok N. Mkpadiok has revealed that lack of the much needed N3.6bn counterpart funding on the part of the Nigerian government for the sea-time training of cadets led to the collapse of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the country and the Reiz University in Istanbul, Turkey in 2012.
Speaking to selected maritime newsmen over the weekend in Lagos, Mr. Mkpadiok explained that with no funding in place, the dream of over 400 cadets of the academy getting sea-time training onboard Turkish vessels was dashed.
According to him, “concerning the MoU signed with the Reiz University in Turkey on the training of cadets, you know there is a popular proverb that says ‘even in Freetown, nothing is free’.
“Under the conditions of the MoU signed in 2012, Nigeria was expected to provide a counterpart fund which was about N3.6bn. We needed over N9m per head for each cadet to embark on the training programme and we had over 400 cadets then.
“So if you multiply that N9m with over 400 cadets then, we were looking at something around N3.6bn as counterpart funding which Nigeria was expected to provide as part of the agreement of the MoU signed. But the nation never provided that money, thus there was no way we could embarked on that training programme.
“The MoU suffered from lack of implementation because the government could not pay the N3.6bn counterpart funding needed at that time.”
It would be recalled that the former Rector of MAN, Oron, late Joshua Okpo had in 2012 initiated an MoU with the Reiz University in Turkey, where a substantial numbers of cadets from the academy would have been trained on sea-time navigation while Turkey gets a substantial amount of Nigeria’s cargoes in return.
The MoU which was signed in 2012 and ratified at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) headquarters in 2013 never saw the light of day four years since it was signed.
MAN, Oron, Nigeria’s only maritime institution has continued to churn out thousand of cadets as graduates without most of them getting the required sea-time training. This has forced many graduates of the academy to roam the streets in search of jobs while others have been conscripted into nefarious activities that include piracy and sea robbery.