The Senate on Wednesday at plenary passed a bill to upgrade the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom State, to University for Maritime Studies.
Also passed was a bill to establish the Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Ogoja, Cross River State.
Both bills were passed after the presentation and consideration of two separate reports by the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.
Sandy Onuh (PDP- Cross River), in a presentation on behalf of the committee chairman, Ahmad Babba Kaita (APC-Katsina), said upgrading the academy into a university would help Nigeria in achieving the prerequisites of the International Maritime Organisation Convention on standard of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.
According to him, the university will give students the opportunity to specialise in international shipping and waterways transportation, port operations, management as well as exploitation and exploration of oil and gas as a boost for Nigeria’s economy.
The senator said Nigeria has recorded losses in the maritime sector, a development which he added was largely due to deficits in manpower and seafarers.
Nigeria, he said, has committed resources in search of university degrees, postgraduate degrees and professionals from the maritime industry outside Nigeria.
“The maritime environment requires highly trained personnel to manage the country’s enormous natural endowment and resources on our offshore, international shipping, oil and gas and expansion of coastline with waterways for a viable coastal and inland water transport industry,” he said.
He said the upgrade of the academy into a university would benefit host communities in the South-south geopolitical zone and the country as a whole.