The Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Worldwide has carpeted former Rivers State governor and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, over comments credited to him regarding the establishment of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta state, describing his comments as anti-Niger Delta.
The group, however, lauded the Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibeh Kachikwu for standing with the people of the Niger Delta region and endorsing the development of the Niger Delta region.
Ameachi had differed with Kachikwu at the Federal Government Town-Hall meeting at Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Monday. Amaechi defended the decision of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to scrap the Maritime University project on the ground that the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan had paid too much to acquire a land for the university.
Describing the project as a “misplacement of priority”, he said; “My argument about Okerenkoko is that land alone is 13 billion(naira). If you give me 13 billion, I will buy the half of Lagos. That 13 billion has built the university already.”
Countering, however, Kachikwu said; “First, let me say on Okerenkoko University, I disagree with the Minister of Transport,” adding that “any facility that is located in the South-South we should work close to developing it. I don’t care the circumstances under which you are placed.
“It’s not in my position to determine whether land was valued at 3 billion or 10 billion. The appropriate institution which is at the cost system will determine that. That has nothing to do with development of infrastructure. And as far as I know, so much has already gone into the university.”
Reacting in a statement issued yesterday by its spokesman, Eric Omare, the IYC said; “We strongly condemn Rotimi Amaechi’s anti-Niger Delta position and commend the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu for standing with the people of the Niger Delta region and endorsing the development of the Niger Delta region.
“Mr. Kachikwu clearly demonstrated to the world that he is a worthy son and representative of the Niger Delta region.”
It stated that Amaechi’s comment about the acquisition of land for the setting up of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko is “completely wrong and deliberately made to justify his unpopular and anti-Niger Delta opposition to the establishment of the Maritime University.”
Explaining how the Maritime University was established, IYC stated that the permanent site of the Maritime University is located at Okerenkoko town in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area which was acquired from the Okerenkoko Community at an amount less than N2billion naira against alleged claims by the Minister.
Omare explained that after commencement of work at the permanent site, the Federal Ministry of Transport approached ex-MEND commander, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, who reportedly owned a diving school at Kurutie, another community in Gbaramatu Kingodm to acquire his private diving school to be used as temporary site for the Maritime University.
Stressing that the Diving school at Kurutue was an existing school with state of the art facilities and structures completely built before it was acquired, the IYC stated that in response to the request of the Transport Ministry, Tompolo did his own valuation and arrived at about N15bn, while the Ministry of Transportation also did their own valuation and arrived at N13bn.
It stated that the completed diving school was then sold to the Federal Ministry of Transport at the valuation done by the ministry.
The statement reads, “Therefore, it is deliberate mischief for Mr. Amaechi who is now the Minister of Transportation and has access to all relevant documents to claim that land for the Maritime University.
“The land for the university was acquired for less than N2 billion naira contrary to Mr. Amaechi’s claim.
“It was the temporary site, which is a completely built up land with structures and world class facilities that was acquired for about N13billion naira, which again is far less than Ameachi’s N19 billion naira claim.”
The IYC expressed surprise that Amaechi who opposed former President Jonathan for not developing the Niger Delta region is now leading efforts to undo the Niger Delta region in the present administration.
It also condemned Amaechi’s opposition to negotiation as a way out of the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta region, saying that his position shows that he is against the success of the Buhari administration.
“The IYC know as a fact that it is some top federal officials and party chieftains of Niger Delta origin in the Buhari administration like Amaechi who are against negotiation as a way out of the crisis that are frustrating government efforts to negotiate with Niger Delta stakeholders.”
The group, therefore, called on Buhari to completely disregard the claims of the Transport Minister on the Maritime University, Okerenkoko as well as his opposition against dialogue over the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta region, saying that Amaechi’s position is not in the interest of the federal government.
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