The minister of transport, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, and the minister of state for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, on Monday June 13th, disagreed on the establishment of a Nigerian Maritime University, proposed for Okerenkoko in Delta State.
Speaking alongside other ministers at a government towns hall meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Amaechi defended the decision of the Buhari administration to scrap the project.
According to investigations by the EFCC, the land for the proposed University, valued at N13 billion and was sold by ex militant leader, Tompolo to the federal government.
At the meeting, Amaechi told the gathering that he is not opposed to developing the Maritime University but that N13 billion used for the purchase of the land for the university must be retrieved. The minister also said the new government lacked the funds to continue with the university project.
“I am not against the University. I hope you people appreciate that. My argument about Okerenkoko is that the land alone is N13 billion. If you give me N13 billion I will buy half of Lagos. That N13 billion has built the university already so there is no need to spend more money. Let EFCC retrieve the money from them and then release them and we would build the University. I believe the Federal government has no money to continue. When we have money we would continue. The Minister of state for Petroleum has whispered to me that he would look for the money to continue…Minister, bring it to me and I will continue”he said
When it was time for Kachikwu to speak, he disagreed politely with Amaechi. He said;
“First let me say on Maritime University, I disagree with the minister of transport. Any facility that is placed in the south south, we should work towards developing it. I don’t care the circumstances under which we are placed… It is not my position to determine whether land was valued at N19 billion or N10 billion or N3 billion. The appropriate institutions which are the court systems will determine that. That has nothing to do with the development of the infrastructure. As far as I know, so much has gone into that property. So much fiscal assets are being developed. We are not going to throw the baby with the bath water. We will deal with the issues but the University will be developed. If he doesn’t want it in maritime, I will take it to petroleum”
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