Maritime Academy Debunks The Niche Report As Rector Effedua States Scorecard of Transformation

The Management of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria has declared as falsehood a story by one Ishaya Ibrahim of The Niche Newspaper.

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Known for being the most transformed public tertiary institution within a pace of three years when it had leadership change in 2017,the academy has become an example in prudent management of resources and acquisition of state of the arts training gadgets, attracting even university students for training.

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Rector of the academy, Cdre Emmanuel Duja Effedua, said It is shocking that the reporter would suddenly wake up and publish, what he described as unverified information for the consumption of the general public despite the recent warning by the Inspector General of Police on the legal consequences of cybercrime and cyber bullying.

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According to Effedua, Ishaya Ibrahim, the reporter who authored the story is not a maritime expert neither is he a maritime stakeholder but someone who is running errands for some persons who do not wish the Academy well.

He said that when he resumed as Rector of the Academy in Sept 2017, the institution was in a collapsed state and at that time, the Federal Government had to set up an Interim Management Committee for proper solutions that would revamp the ailing institution. He disclosed that he was a member of that committee that worked day and night for 6 months had to tackle the challenges observed so that the institution will not be delisted from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) white list. On resumption, He met challenges including:

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Poor standard of training.
Over bloated cadets’ enrolment.
Demoralized manpower.
Infrastructural decay.
Poor maintenance of facilities.
Unnecessary employments.
Dearth of teaching aids.
Inadequate lecturers.
Deplorable hostels with crowded rooms.
Makeshift library facility with inadequate current books of reference.
Poor filing/data management system.
Decaying state of sporting facilities.
Abandoned projects.
Negative publications by a section of the Press (sponsored).
Misplacement of priorities in the application of resources.
Certificate racketing by some staff.
Activities of some dubious contractors.
Huge debt profile.
Picketing of the Academy by some individuals from the Host Community.

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Effedua said “I worked day and night and within 3 years, the Academy bounced back and this same Ishaya Ibrahim did not see this story to report to the general public. When I resumed.

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“I met a school full of corrupt practices. Training was relegated to the background and funds deployed by the FGN for development at the school were virtually siphoned and diverted by those at the helm of affairs at the time. Consequently, I got an audit firm to identify all financial leakages and blocked them and we were able to save monies that would have been stolen by the cabal hounding the institution, which comprised of internal persons with their external collaborators and I became public enemy no one. Within this period, I have been petitioned over 7,000 times and all of them are frivolous petitions because they want me out of their way for them to continue stealing and keeping the institution underdeveloped”.

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“The EFCC, ICPC, CCB ,BPP National Assembly have all been inundated with fake petitions just to get me out of the way. My mission here is not about awarding contracts and projects except those related to training and I am not here to share money with people. I am equally not ready and I will never pay anybody underserved sums of money. Like some of there persons connived without internal staff to forge paper pretending that contract have been awarded and contract have been executed before my resumption and the contractor deserves some payment but when you investigate, it turns out to be false”.

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” I got tired and had to report to the economic and financial crimes commission one of the incidents and the EFCC investigated and found out that I was right and the contractor and the internal staff were prosecuted and are in prison right now. There are many more petitions from me to the EFCC and ICPC on criminal activities of internal members of staff. Yet they categorise that as high handedness.

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” It was discovered that some members of staff posed fake certificates. They were fished out and reported to the ICPC. How is that high handedness? People do not come to work and they want to get paid at the end of the month. Some of them go absent without leave for as long as one month, two months and they want to be paid, some even for one year”.

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“When I resumed , they lied that we had 804 members of staff on our pay roll but I did biometrics for every staff and we found out that we have only 604 staff. This means that we had 200 ghost workers in the system who were wiped out. People deliberately destroyed government properties worth millions and they want to be retained . Do they want to be rewarded for destroying government property and the untoward activities?”.

” There is hardly a week they do not steal air conditioners, computers, projectors in the Academy. The ones that have been caught have been handed over to the Police to be investigated. What have I done wrong there?”.

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“On the issue of funding for the Academy. It is from what NIMASA generates that it gives the Academy 5% percentage. This grant is in the Academy’s act, which is based on patronage of NIMASA by its clients that the Academy is funded and if they project 100%, who told the journalist that NIMASA will realize the 100%? The 5% Grant to the Academy can be N1.00 and it can be N1,000,000.00; it is from what NIMASA earns. For instance, in 2023, the budget performance of the Academy was just 33% as against 100% envisaged. The funding was just 33%. The National Assembly is aware as i just defended the Academy’s 2024 Budget. It’s in the public domain. The economic dynamics has affected everybody’s calculation and permutations Therefore, one cannot blame NIMASA or the Academy for the 33% release for 2023 and neither will anybody expect me to use my personal funds to run the Academy but we have done well in the sense that we have utilized the money NIMASA pays to us prudently and the evidence abounds. Just last week the DG NIMASA went out of his way to write the Minister of Finance to fast track payment from September 2023 to date to the Academy. We salute him for that. Diesel Is super expensive now and a truck costs over N30 million Naira. The diesel we purchase is meant for training and not staff leisure The Academy never connected power supply to the staff quarters before my resumption. The allegations that the Academy had 24 hours supply each day before my arrival is laughable”.

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“Mr. Ishaya forgot to calculate what it would cost the Academy to perform that feat. With only one generator that was partially functional upon my arrival? He failed to verify the narrative of his informants because he is a man on a mission to run down the Management while running errands for criminals, who are embedded within the system and outside. These persons are pained because it is no more business as usual where the steal and loot the system as they use to do, that is why there is a spike in their petition writings.

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“As at the time I resumed In 2017, the Academy lacked quality staff, and as a man on a mission , I had to go out of my way to other institutions and establishments, poaching experts, instructors, ICT experts, lawyers, engineers even went as far as getting some experienced retired naval officers, NPA officers and those recommend by stakeholders in the maritime industry and they are in the Academy, doing a fantastic job. Altogether, the Academy has employed 109 experts under my watch and this includes Master Mariners, Chief Engineers and even foreign experts on contract bases. It is pertinent to state that the Chairman of the Nigeria Association of Master Mariners has been so supportive of the Academy and the Management has held several meetings with the Association at the Academy and in their office in Lagos on their continuous support and also helping us in recruiting staff. Master Mariners who are active will never come ashore to work and this is unknown to this journalist because he is intellectually vacant when it comes to matters like this.

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“A master mariner who is retired is not expected to be a young man. His claimed that master mariners exited the system in droves is false because those he mentioned, over 3 years ago. And not at the same time As this Ishay Ibrahim alleged. They even handed over as Directors of the School of nautical science to each other over the years. The records are available for all to view. It is to be noted that 5 of them at various times were Directors of the School of Nautical Studies between 2018 and December 2023. How is it possible that they all left in droves as he alleged?”.

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“The least age among those that resigned is 75 years. Such persons will certainly not have the energy to continue with the rudiments of the job and they are alive except late Capt Ahia who died at his official residence while he was still in the service of the Academy yet Mr Ishaya lied that he resigned on his own. In fact, two master mariners who resigned were advised by their family to resign due to old age. Master mariners take only 4 subjects out of over 80 subjects taught at the Institution and they are domiciles at the school of Nautical Science. While the other subjects are taught by other experts who are not Mariners and ariners take are courses related to some aspect of navigation and some aspects of seamanship, where we have other lecturers who are eminently qualified to teach those same courses. that notwithstanding, it is important that a maritime training institution have at least one; but there is no law that says that all lecturers must be master mariners but this man is ignorant of the operations of a maritime training institution yet he is feeding the public with lies.

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” The Academy has Master Mariners and some institutions do not even have. They only have visiting lecturers who are master mariners and that does not mean they are not qualified to run maritime training. In Nigeria, the Academy is still the best. The Academy was awarded the best Maritime Training Institution in Nigeria following a survey conducted by NIMASA in 2019 and in 2023, the Academy was adjudged the best Maritime Training institution in Nigeria by the Association of Marine Engineering and Surveyors (AMES) recognized the Academy as the best MTI . We have noticed a surge in subscription by potential students requests. In fact, till December 2024, there is no space to admit additional students as available spaces for subscription in 2024 have all been exhausted. Therefore, if the Academy is doing poorly as the journalist has alleged, why are we being oversubscribed?”.

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“Mr Ishaya claimed that Ghana is more recognized and that people are going there . He should have presented statistics to corroborate his assertions .The Academy is one of the most equipped MTI in Africa today . It is now the major destination for seafarers training. Foreign students from West African countries have started patronising the institution. This is a feat that for the present management as it never happened in at its 46 years of existence. No MTI in West Africa has quality of training equipment available at the Academy Most potential students have stopped travelling abroad for maritime training as the Academy now has the latest equipment in maritime training. This was made possible through saving of funds that would have been stolen by this cabal. Unfortunately, the journalist did not find this information interesting to report but he is propagating falsehood instead of reporting what is truly happening at the Academy. I do not interact with Master Mariners to the extent of quarrelling with them. they are elderly people”.IMG 20240218 WA0061

“The last man who resigned is Capt Okonkwo, he was quite old and could hardly walk. Instead of sending for him, I go to him and he understood. It is pertinent to state that till date, no engineer has left the Academy as alleged by this journalist except a retired Navy Commodore, who also resigned after he lost his wife”.

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“On the issue of electricity, when I resumed in 2017, the Academy had already been disconnected from the Public Power Supply provided by Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company and the Academy premises was in darkness especially at nights. I made enquiries and i was informed that the town has no sub station and the hardly had electricity supply. The only place that has light in the Academy was only the Admin block where the Rector’s office was located. and it is powered by a generator. Gradually, I introduced high quality Solar to power every street , office and classroom All the classrooms and offices are now powered by solar except heavy equipment like the simulators that is powered by generators. The Academy is an institution that requires power to run effectively and without power, we cannot meet up with our programmes and the equipment such as simulators, HUET etc depend on electricity to run. In view of this development, the Academy had to ensure that all the classrooms are powered by solar. In the hostels, the Academy ensures that the cadets are provided light for at least 3 hours and they were all issued with rechargeable bulbs whenever they are on ground. The issue of light at the staff quarters in a privilege. Is the journalist going to claim that he does not know the current cost of diesel in Nigeria? Where does he expect me to source for money from to provide light for the staff quarters? Perhaps, the journalist should tell me or the country where he expects me to get that kind of funds from. His claims that the staff quarters had enjoyed 24 hours light before my assumption of office is false as the first time the staff quarters was introduced to power supply by generator is during my watch. The Academy hereby challenges the journalist to tell Nigerians where in Nigeria any public school runs generator for its staff quarters an how cheap it is. If the journalist was on a genuine mission, he should have visited the Academy to verify his information rather than propagating falsehood”.

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“On the issue of contract staff, it is pertinent to state again that the Academy lacked qualified staff as at the time I resumed. Even some of them were later found to have been employed with fake certificates. The contract staff were brought in because there were operational gaps, which have to be plugged by experts. The Management went out poaching from different organizations to get the needed staff and their salaries were negotiated based on the nature of job they were to undertake. Secondly, the salaries of permanent staff of the Academy is the responsibility of the IPPIS and not the Academy. Therefore, comparing a contract staff and a permanent staff who is already a professional working somewhere and had to be poached to come work for the Academy does not make any sense. The Academy has the mandate of the Ministry to encourage the best hands and retain them, so that with their services, the Academy can be projected further. This is why we have been able to recruit 109 experts to support the operations At the Academy,. The journalist did not come to verify his information but just wanted to push his story which will eventually land him in trouble”.

“Certain persons are threatened by the way people are massively trooping to the Academy for training and would do anything to remain in business The Academy is not even in competition with Ghana or any MTI . The IMO in recognition of the progress at the Academy during my watch, donated books and publications to the Academy’s library. We have a relationship with the Nautical Institute of the United Kingdom, IMarEST of the UK and is currently discussing with the city of Glasgow College and University of Stratchclyde for possible collaboration with the Academy. These are well known reputable maritime institutions. NIMASA recently concluded it facility audit of the Academy and acknowledged the improvement made so far. Maritime Stakeholders Who have visited the Academy in recent times acknowledged the giant strides made by the this administration”.

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” It is very clear tht this journalist is running errands for people and this is exactly how some journalist started till they were charged for cybercrime. I will make no further comments on this because the matter is sub judice, I have been inundated with calls from maritime stake holders who were shocked by the antics of this journalist. Ordinarily the management would not have responded to this journalist but we have to to set records straight. But be rest assured that he would have our lawyers to contend with. I wish to remind him that he is not the law” Effedua concluded.

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