The Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State, is facing hard times over the N7.2billion debt incurred during the tenure of its late Rector, Dr. Joshua Okpo.
A source in the institution said that the debt ranges from staff claims to payments for various contracts of which some have been completed and others ongoing.
”Our debt profile has risen, even if we get all the monies we are expecting from Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), it won’t be enough to solve our issues,” a lecturer in the institution said.
Investigations revealed that the campus of the academy in Oron, Akwa Ibom State is littered with unfinished jobs while basic teaching and learning infrastructures are lacking.
Some members of staff of the academy, investigation showed, have interests in many of the contracts as most of them are directly involved in contract racketeering which accounts for the many sub-standard implementation.
Sources at the academy’s account department said on condition of anonymity that the school has been failing in meeting the accommodation needs of its cadets.
The late rector and an acting Rector, Anthony Ishiodu, who also died recently in Abuja, came under pressures from many contractors seeking to be paid as they claimed to have executed the jobs with loan facilities obtained from commercial banks, which they claim has accrued outrageous interests.
Findings further revealed that essential facilities like the nautical science building, survival pool, main auditorium, male cadets hostel, engineering workshop, boatyard and many others are yet to be completed
Some students of the academy are forced to either sleep outside or in the classrooms since hostel accommodation meant for only eight students per room are being overstretched with more than 17 students in each hostel room.
This, our source said, is affecting the student’s ability to learn better as they are open to mosquito bites, cold, poor hygiene and other health related hazards on the campus.
Aside its budgetary allocation and its internally generated revenue from short courses, the academy is also entitled to five per cent of total revenue collected by NIMASA as provided in sub section 2B, under section 16 of the NIMASA Act 2007.
Sources said the last time NIMASA made quarterly remittance to the academy was in November 2015, adding that should the arrears be paid now, it won’t be enough to offset the debts.
Checks revealed that wrangling for the position of Rector has also affected development as the Registrar, who is a non-academic staff, is holding forte as head of the academy while his wife, a director in the academy is seeking to be rector.
“Most academic staff members are also unhappy on the grounds that the registrar prefers sending non-academic staff on refresher courses while the core academic staff members that need updated knowledge to impact on the academy are left behind. There has been series of petitions against the late rector and acting rector leading to several invitations and visits to the police and anti-graft agencies. Most of the petitions have not led to arrests or prosecution,” the source said.
The academy’s Public Relations Officer, Siddi Mkpandiok, who confirmed that the academy is owing the debts, said they were accumulated by several leadership of the institution over the years.
He however, stated that most of the challenges the academy is facing, is a as a result of paucity of funds and not just the debt.
He said some of the abandoned projects are projects that the federal government, have failed to complete or are yet to be completed.
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom
Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.
The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.
Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.
Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.
“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.
“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.
“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.
“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.
“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.
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