By Akpan Udoh (Akwa Ibom State Correspondent)

Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Commodore Duja Effedua, has declared that his target is to attract more International affiliation and certifications for the Academy.

Effedua who has been in the news in recent months for his ability to transform the academy to a world-class standard in the last four years said he must strive to consolidate on such gains.

Speaking with NIGERIAN NEWSLEADER Correspondent in Uyo at the weekend, the Rector who had during the week played host to the Minister of States for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, who was on a fact-finding mission to the Academy, said having achieved much in infrastructure, the Academy must push to advance its intellectual contents

"We need to work hard to consolidate on our gains, we do not have to relax. We have to build more capacity. We must consolidate on training the trainers. We have to increase our Internally generated revenue. We have to expand some of our courses to get more International affiliations and accreditations. We also have to take up some courses in boat building", he said

He expressed optimism that the visit by the Minister of States to the academy would resolve irregular remittances by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), which he regretted has made planning difficult for the institution. "NIMASA's remittances are irregular and with that, you cannot plan. It puts us on the spot because it is difficult to plan when your income is not regular", he added

The Rector who had during the visit presented some projects named after women, including the Minister of States and Mrs Mfon Usoro for commissioning, acknowledged that the women so honored distinguished themselves in the Maritime industry.

His words: "The women worked hard for it. It was during Mrs. Mfon Usoro's tenure as Director-General of NIMASA that the decision to give us some percentage of their income was made".

Recall that the Minister of States for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, had during her visit to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, disclosed the federal government’s vision to make Nigeria a leading exporter of seafarers, like the Philippines.

"I came here to see for myself and to discuss with all the players within the sector who can play a role in bringing about change. You know that currently, the Philippines is the home of maritime crews, from pleasure boats to the merchant navy. We believe that truly we can achieve that, with the depths of adjustments that have been made here, especially since the resumption of the current Rector. I used to chair the maritime committee in the Senate, so I know this place very well and I can see the difference and what has happened.

"Also, bearing in mind that we need to position Nigeria to be able to provide maritime services. The aim and the goal is that within the African continent, we want to dominate when it comes to seafarers", she said

Asked whether she was satisfied with the transformation in the Academy, she said "I’m sure that you can answer that question for yourself. Of course, yes. We’ve all been here longer than a lot of you. We all knew what was existing here before now. it also gives us an opportunity to think back to the lots of wastage and, if those wastages hadn’t taken place, where would we be today?

"I however have to give credit to the choice of the current Rector and what he has done. Of course, now the maritime academy has a new chairman who also happens to be a former naval officer, and we believe that with him on board, we will see greater things", she said. NNL.

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