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Ministry, Maritime Academy Boycott Public Hearing

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Facts have emerged why both the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Maritime Academy of  Nigeria, Oron shun both the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tetfund and House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration Publics hearing.
Both committees had organised a public hearing for a Bill for an Act to establish Maritime University of Nigeria, Okerenko, Delta State and Maritime University, Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
The Senate held their hearing in April this year, while the House of Representatives did theirs last Wednesday. Our investigations reveal that the Ministry of Transport, headed by Hon. Rotimi Amaechi may not be comfortable with the way the National Assembly is going about the Maritime Universities Acts. Moreso, the new acts have stripped all the powers of the ministry and the minister from having any say in the running of the two maritime universities.
For instance in the act for a Bill to establish Maritime University, Oron, the power to appoint the Vice Chancellor is vested on the president without any inputs or recommendation from the Minister.
According to the Act, neither the Ministry nor the Minister is a member of council of the proposed university.
In schedule 6 of the new Act, it states, there shall be a Council for the University consisting of Pro-Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellors, one person from Ministry of Education, one person from NIMASA, four persons from various interest groups drawn from the federation and to be appointed by the President, four person to be appointed by the University Senate, two persons from the school’s congregation, one person from the convocation members and two other persons to be appointed by the School Council.
Also, in the Act, to establish Maritime University of Nigeria, Okerenko, there is no where the Ministry nor the Minister is mentioned in the institution’s council, even Nimasa is not mentioned in the NIMASA Board.
The non inclusion of the Ministry and the Minister of Transports in the two Acts might have warrant the shunning of the Ministry from taking part in the public hearings. And also restraining MAN, Oron officials from doing so.
Infact, our source from the Academy said, The Sarumi Committee who are presently at the Academy were furious when the House of Representatives Committee invitation gets to them, querying why such invitation should be brought to them. No person represents the academy on Wednesday at the public hearing.
At present, enormous power is given to the Ministry and Minister of Transport to superintend and supervised, MAN, Oron. Infact the Minister of Transport is like the Chairman of the school, he makes all recommendations to the President, including appointment of Rector for approval.
This may also be the reason why both the Ministry and NIMASA may not support the school been upgraded into a University, but prefer degree awarding.
What this means is that, the school will remain Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, awarding Degrees, with its core mandates stills intact, but most importantly the Ministry and Minister of Transports retaining their powers.
It is important to note that, while the legislatures are doing their best to pass the two bills into law, if the Minister and his Ministry does not agree with the Acts, it will suffer a natural death at the Executive level.
There are several of such Acts and Bills pass by the National Assembly, which are pending at the Presidency, let’s these ones not fall into that category.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic

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Estate Surveyors Reject Housing Deficit Report

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The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has disagreed with the report of housing deficit in Nigeria, insisting that there is no proof to justify the report.
The institution also corroborated the assertion of the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, that Nigeria does not have a 17 million housing deficit.
A recent report had indicated that there are 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria. 
President of NIESV, Emma OkasWike, who faulted the report in an interaction with newsmen, Monday, said the body was in full agreement with the minister’s statement and position on the matter. 
“We are in total agreement with the minister on the unreliability of the 17 million housing deficit being brandished in Nigeria for lacking scientific proof.
“We are using this opportunity to reaffirm the importance of data bank and our commitment to the provision of a property data bank for all state capitals and major cities in Nigeria”, NIESV president said.
Wike, however, agreed that there are more demands in housing sector due to mass movement from rural areas to urban centres, adding that when demand exceeds supply, there will be scarcity. 
He said that the solution to the problem lies in having accurate data of empty houses in the cities, which could assist in further planning.
The NIESV president hinted that his institution had been challenged to come up with accurate data on the housing issue, pointing out that such data would help solving the housing problem.
“We have laws in this country, and law is not the problem; it is not enough to say repeal the law, but the implementation is the problem.
“The communities fighting over land, resulted in enacting the Land Use Act, and every section of the Land Use Act has been interpreted by the Supreme Court. The administration of the law is the problem we have in this country, but not the law perse”, he said.

By: Corlins Walter

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FG To Shut Ikorodu Terminal Over Explosive Overtime Cargoes

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Strong indications have emerged that the Federal Government may shut down the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal in Lagos over the recent alarm raised by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) on some explosive overtime cargoes.
Members of the Governing Board, NPA, had recently expressed worries over some overtime cargoes that have been abandoned for over 44 years at the facility, even as they called on management of the Nigeria Customs Service to expedite actions to evacuate some of the detained consignments.
Speaking with our correspondent recently on the next line of actions by the NPA Board in furtherance to the evacuation of the dangerous cargoes, one of the board members, Hon. Ghazali Mohammed Mijinyawa, said government might shut down the facility due to high risk involved.
The board member reiterated that the explosive cargoes pose serious threat to the facility and the nation, adding that it would be wise for government to shut down the terminal and give rooms for the evacuation of such items.
According to him, the executive board of NPA will hold a retreat to determine the next line of actions on Ikorodu Lighter Terminal in Lagos.
“The executive management would have a retreat and I wouldn’t tell you what the retreat is all about but in two weeks time, we are going to shut the port terminal at Ikorodu and that is what we are going to do”, he reaffirmed.
On the issue of revoking the licenses of some terminal operators,  Mijinyawa said plans were afoot to review the port concession agreement in order to be fair to all parties involved in the process of renewal.
Mijinyawa who is also the chairman, Seaport Concession, NPA, pointed out that the terminal operators had testified that NPA was committed to the concession agreement and would further ensure fair play to all parties involved in the renewal process.
He said, “We have to sit down and have a review of everything and of course if there are those worthy of renewal we just have to give them that opportunity but for the ones that have defaulted, it is better you find out why they default before any necessary actions because you just have to strike a balance.
“It’s not a matter of I am not going to renew the agreement but to find out why are they not functioning properly. Is it because of the Covid? Is it the NPA defaulting? Is it them defaulting? So, you just have to go through the documents and see for yourself before you make a judgment of that; so that we can be fair to all parties”.
 According to him, the terminal operators appreciated the efforts of the NPA on the working relationship between stakeholders as against the backdrop of port operations since 2006.

By: NkpemenyieMcdominic, Lagos

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CBN Not Supporting Solid Minerals Dev  – Minister

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The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, DrUche Ogah, has alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not been supporting the development of the mines and solid mineral sector in the country. 
The minister made the allegation at a two-day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy.
The forum was aimed at getting inputs of stakeholders to the contents of four bills on how to achieve rapid development of the solid minerals sector.
The bills are Nigerian Minerals Development Corporation Establishment Bill 2021, Solid Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission Establishment Bill 2021, Institute of Bitumen Management Establishment Bill 2021, and the Explosive Act 1964 Repeal and Re-enactment Bill 2021.
The panel is also expected to investigate the loss of $9 billion annually due to illegal mining and smuggling of gold.
Ogah said, “It is unfortunate that the Central Bank of Nigeria did not believe in us. If they believe in us, if they support us the way they are supporting agriculture, we will do wonders for this country.
“This is one ministry that is untapped, that is unknown, that can change the landscape of our revenue.”
The minister said there was need to support research for growth of the sector.
According to him, “Equally, we need to ask the Ministry of Finance to speed up the export policy on solid minerals because that is the only way to have operators into the sector”.
Ogah urged citizens to be involved in checking the activities of intruders in the mining sub-sector.

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