The Pan Niger Delta Forum, (PANDEF) has described as unacceptable the reduction made from the 5billion naira initially approved for the take off of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Warri South Local Government Area, by the National Assembly in the 2018 Appropriation Act.
It has therefore called for the immediate reversal of the deliberate reduction of the sum by the National Assembly in the interest of peace and wellbeing of the Niger Delta people who had made so much sacrifice for growth of the nation.
It also lamented the refusal of non-implementation of financial provision in the ACT establishing the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Effurun, and urged that this be done as a matter of urgency in order to guaranty the financial independence of the institution.
Making these demands in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Dr. Alfred Mulade, PANDEF noted that its concern was borne out of the fact that these Institutions are both specialized Universities established with the mandate to train high caliber manpower in the Maritime and Oil /Gas Industries in the country.
According to the statement, “These actions of the National Assembly are capable of truncating the laudable objectives upon which these universities were established”.
“It is quite disheartening to note that the less than adequate budgetary provision of N5billion for the take-off of the Nigerian University, Okerenkoko, ridiculously slashed to a paltry N3.4Billion, is unacceptable”.
“To add to this is the very disappointing non-financial implementation of the Federal Petroleum University of Petroleum Resources ( FUPRE act) is an affront and defeat on the realization of the core mandate of this institution”.
“Nigerians would recall the height of violent agitations in the Niger Delta which resulted to drastic down-ward turn in oil production to an all-time low level or 800,000 barrels per day, PANDEF Leaders intervened, with a visit to President Muhammedu Buhari on November, 2016”.
“The need for immediate take-off of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, and the upgrading of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (M. A. N), Oron, Akwa Ibom State, to Federal University of Maritime Studies, Oron, were major items in the list of demands contained in the famous PANDEF 16 – Point Agenda, for peace in the Niger Delta region”.
“The relative peace in the region today which has given rise to increase in crude oil to the neighborhoods of 2.350 billion barrels/day is as a direct output of the sacrifices and engagement made by PANDEF, on behalf of the region”.
“Today, this improvement in oil production has have helped the nation to climb out of recession and stabilize the economy, providing an accumulated platform of motivation for the National Assembly to increase the budget to their advantage, without recourse to the yearnings and aspirations of the Niger Delta which produces the resources upon which the budget will be implemented”.
“PANDEF therefore call on President Muhammedu Buhari and the Leadership of the National Assembly, as matter of urgent importance, take the necessary steps, to provide for the smooth take-off of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, and to implement the financial provision for the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Effurun, by way of a Supplementary Budget, as envisaged in Mr. President’s Speech at the Budget signing ceremony”.