The registrar of Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), Kurutie, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, Dr. Alfred Mulade, has attributed the slow pace of growth in the institution to inadequate funding and the consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic that impeded its take-off master plan.
Speaking while appraising the development of the university in the last three years with The Education Report in his office, Dr. Mulade acknowledged that, although most tertiary institutions in Nigeria are confronted with the same issue of inadequate funding, it was more challenging in the case of NMU due to its difficult terrain.
He noted that while most schools operate in upland areas in parts of the country, the NMU receives the same allocation to carry out the same developmental projects in its difficult location, thus spending more on such projects. He stressed that the university “spends three times what it costs in executing the same job.”
Mulade further pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic had its toll on the progress of the university as the institution lost much time that would have placed it in an advanced stage if the impact of the global pandemic had not been there, especially during the 2019/2020 academic session.
According to him: “We are just at phase one of the university and ought to have entered phase two but we couldn’t because there were issues when the school took off early 2018. Nothing happened academically because the school was put on hold.
“Then, there was another lockdown, this time due to the coronavirus in 2019. All these things ate into our take-off master plan and have made it difficult for us to enter the second phase of our developmental plan.
“The phase one of the university’s master plan, would have brought in faculties, such as Faculty of Law, but we can’t do much about that now because we want see that we consolidate on phase one of the master plan.”
Speaking on funding, Mulade stated that funding “is an issue everywhere nationally.”
“By the virtue of my position as a registrar of Association of Nigerian Universities, I know what the universities system is going through in terms of funding and that is why it has become necessary that since the Federal Government cannot provide all the funding to universities, the schools are also encouraged to see how they can look inwards to generate alternative funding.
“But in our own case, the environment is a challenge. Look at the environment, look at the terrain, the hazards, so, if the upland is given a billion naira and we are also given same amount, the upland will achieve more. That is why we need more funding and that is why we are also spreading our tentacles. Chevron is also doing something as well as other stakeholders to the university.
“We also have our principal sponsor, I will say sponsor because the university was conceptualised by NIMASA and we were thinking that it would be a NIMASA property but the Nigeria University System has its own policy and going by the policy, NIMASA can not completely own the university as it stands today but they support the university. What we keep saying is that the support should be more so that we can do more.
“For instance, the permanent site was single handedly awarded by NIMASA before the school was put on hold, so, we wants that kind of deliberate intervention from NIMASA so that things can go on faster in the best interest of both the staff and students of the university.
“We are really in a hurry to meet up in some areas we are lagging behind in order to be able to actualise our targets of ensuring that our workforce are adequately remunerated so as to bring out the best in them and also focus more in providing quality and sound academic qualifications that would boost both the highly trained technical manpower and skilled labour in the maritime sector of the economy.
“So we need every stakeholder, not just NIMASA to make sure everything work. For instance, the Delta State Government, in spite the fact that this is a federal institution, has done a lot by providing the initial take-off grant of N100million. We have mentioned Okerenkoko campus support, generators were provided and we are still making more demands on the state government.”
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