CREATION OF INSTITUTE OF MARITIME STUDIES IN THE UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA
The quest for the establishment of Institute of Oceanographic and Marine Studies in University of Nigeria was conceived under Professor Bartho Okolo’s administration with a formal proposal to this effect to the House of Representative Committee on Maritime. However, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in pursuit of the broader national objective of building human capacity to enable the country participate in the international maritime activities decides to establish institutes of maritime studies in four Nigerian Universities. This idea was consistent with the intents and spirit of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act of 2003. This Act sought to restrict the use of Foreign Vessels in Domestic Coastal Trade in order to promote the development of the indigenous capacity in this important area.
NIMASA selected the Unversity of Nigeria among three others to run Post Graduate programs in maritime studies starting from the 2013/2014 academic session. The other universities selected for this purpose include: University of Lagos; IBB University Lappai Niger State; and Niger Delta University, Yenegoa, Bayelsa State. NIMASA has taken the responsibility to sponsor Post Graduate Programmes in these Universities for the first five years.
Several meetings were held between NIMASA and the selected Universities. In the long run it was agreed that Postgraduate programmes (Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) and Master of Science (M.Sc) in Maritime Studies be mounted by the Universities commencing from the 2013/2014. Courses were assigned to the selected Universities based on their existing areas of relative advantage and competencies. The University of Nigeria was assigned the following courses:
- Navigation and Telecommunication Systems in Maritime Studies;
- Maritime Business and International Logistics;
- Maritime Business Management;
- Maritime Regulation Studies, Law and Policy; and
- Nautical Science.
While the Institute took off in the other three Universities in the 2013/104 Academic Session after the signing the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), take-off of the programmes in the University of Nigeria was stalled due to some logistic problems. As soon as the present University administration under Professor B.C. Ozumba was inaugurated in 2014, the then Director of Academic Planning, Rev Fr. Professor H.E. Ichoku intimated the Vice-Chancellor about the NIMASA project and on the need to resuscitate the stalled negotiation with the Agency. The Vice-Chancellor immediately established contact with NIMASA’s Academic Consultant to the Programme, Professor I. Ogwude. After a number of meetings with the representatives of NIMASA the problem was resolved and the process for the establishment of the Institute of Maritime Studies in the University of Nigeria commenced in earnest.
THE MILE STONE
Since the lifting of the embargo placed on the University in November, 2014, and with the appointment of Rev Fr. Professor H.E. Ichoku as the Director of the Institute, a number of progress have been made towards actualising the take-off of the programmes in Maritime Studies in the University of Nigeria.
- On request the Vice-Chancellor has approved that the Ulasi Centre in the Enugu Campus of the University be renovated for the immediate take-off of the programme in the University of Nigeria. The building, through the efforts of the Director of Physical Planning of the University, Arch. Ezeh, has been completely re-designed with additional floor to fit the prime space occupied by the building. After several meetings between the University representatives and NIMASA, the Agency has approved the request for the budget for immediate renovation and equipping of the building. The contract to this effect had been awarded, following the University’s due process.
- In January, 2015, representatives of NIMASA were shown the permanent site of the Institute, located opposite the Shell Centre for Environmental Management and Control (CEMAC) building in Enugu Campus of the University. The permanent structure of the Institute is a complex comprising an Auditorium, Academic Blocks, Administrative Building, Lecture Theatre, drainages and street lights, water supply and reticulations. Contracts for the construction of these structures had been awarded by NIMASA.
Preparation of the academic programmes (PGD and M.Sc) has been completed. The key Faculties involved were: Faculty of Engineering (for the Maritime Telecommunication); Faculty of Business Administration (for Maritime Business and International Logistics, and Maritime Business Management) and the Faculty of Law (for Maritime Regulation Studies, Law and Policy). These programmes were developed with the assistance from these Faculties. They were built upon the programmes earlier developed by a previous committee set up by the former Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bartho Okolo, chaired by Professor S. Onyegegbu, with Rev. Fr. Professor H.E. Ichoku as the Secretary