Delta Communities May Clash Over Proposed Maritime Varsity | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Delta Communities May Clash Over Proposed Maritime Varsity

Posted: Jul 6, 2016 at 6:29 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Awele Ogbogu


Asaba – The proposed Maritime University may have pit two communities, Ogwashi-Uku and Ibusa in the Delta North Senatorial District of Delta State against each other if a letter credited to the Nigerian Navy (NN) is anything to go by.

Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff, had remarked that plans were underway to upgrade a naval secondary school being constructed in Ibusa to a university status.

Construction of the naval secondary school began when retired Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba who hails from Ibusa in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State was Chief of Naval Staff in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and was applauded for attracting the institution to his community.

But a letter exclusively made available to Independent acknowledged the contrary as the Nigerian Navy seem to have recognised Ogwashi-Uku, the headquarters of Aniocha South Local Government Area as the legitimate host community, paving way for an impending showdown between the two neighbouring communities that are part and parcel of Anioma, the Igbo speaking people of Delta State.

The letter which was addressed to the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku and signed by Captain S.H. Abdullahi on behalf of the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Navy Holdings Limited/GTE, reads: “The Nigerian Navy and officials of the National Universities Commission (NUC)  are scheduled to inspect facilities at the proposed University of Science, Arts and Maritime Studies (USAMS), Ogwashi-Uku on June 17, 2016.

“As the paramount ruler of the host community, the Nigerian Navy felt obligated to visit your Majesty to seek his support and understanding to actualise the university project. It is hoped that His Majesty will mobilise his subjects to ensure a cordial relationship between the host community and the university community.”

A source at the palace of the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku said that for retired Vice Admiral Ezeoba to have attracted the institution does not confer ownership of the land on his community.

“After all, it was our daughter (former Finance Minister, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala that released the initial funding that made the take-off of construction work possible.

“We raised objection then that the land on which the university is situated belongs to Ogwashi-Uku but she advised us to allow construction work to take off, that in due course, the bona-fide host community will be recognised.

“For the benefit of doubt, the court only ruled ownership of North West of the land in favour of Ibusa while the institution clearly falls under our territory.”

A host community tussle had reared its head earlier in the state before being resolved and the institution expected to take off as Nigerian Maritime University, Okenrenkoko in Warri South West Local Government Area.

Meanwhile, there are indications that the people of Ibusa would not allow Ogwashi-Uku to get away with its claim over the land on which the institution is situated as some of her sons and daughters have equally been claiming that the parcel of land belongs to Ibusa.

Unless the Nigerian Navy authority moves quickly to nip the impending controversy in the bud, the university might be faced with the kind of controversy the one in Okerenkoko is mired.