Ijaw Youths from the Nine States of the Niger Delta has faulted the Federal Government over a memo from the office of the Minister of Justice on the proposed re-naming of the site of the Maritime University from Okerenkoko to Okerenghigho in Delta State.
The Ijaw Youths under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) argued that though the historical and legally recognized name of the host community to the Nigerian Maritime University is Okerenkoko and reflected in all historical and political documents, the memo initiated by the Minister of Justice is a confirmation of known attempts by the FG not to allow take off of the Institution.
The IYC, in a statement issued via email by the President, Comrade Eric Omare, stated that “the site or community wherein the Nigerian Maritime University is situated has never been known, addressed or called Okerenghigho at any time.”
“The actual, historical and legally recognized name of the host community to the Nigerian Maritime University is Okerenkoko. The name Okerenkoko is reflected in all historical and political documents and institutions including the Okerenkoko Primary School, Okerenkoko Secondary School, Okerenkoko electoral ward in all electoral documents, Okerenkoko General Hospital etc.”
“There is no community known as Okerenghigho within and around the area where the Nigerian Maritime University is situated. Therefore, the purported Supreme Court case of James Uluba and others v. Chief E. E. Sillo has nothing to do with the land wherein the Nigerian Maritime University is situated”.
“It is now obvious and crystal clear that the Buhari led administration does not want the Nigerian Maritime University to start academic activities hence this new diversionary strategy to cause unnecessary inter-ethic crisis in the area wherein the university is situated and the Niger Delta at large. The federal government is obviously coming up with this strategy because their earlier tactics to use corruption to stop the take-off of the institution has failed.”
“We strongly believe that the federal government wants to instigate another round of crisis in the Niger Delta region just as it is using Fulani herdsmen to instigate crisis to kill people innocent citizens all over the country especially in the middle belt region.”
“The Ijaw Nation state that the name of the site of the Nigerian Maritime University is and would remain Okerenkoko. There is no amount of misrepresentation that can change the name from the actual name to Okerenghigho or any other name. It is elementary knowledge that institutions all over the world are known by the name of the place where it is situated and not otherwise.”
“We strongly call on the National Assembly to ignore the memo from the office of the Attorney General as it was done in bad faith so as to instigate another round of crisis in the Niger Delta region. If the federal government is not interested in the take-off of the Maritime University, it should say so expressly and not instigate another crisis in the Niger Delta region.”
“It would be recalled that during the public hearing on the bill to establish the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, similar presentation was made by the Itsekiri delegation but it was rightly ignored by both houses of the National Assembly. Consequently, we thank the National Assembly for standing on the side of truth and urge that the already passed bill be presented for Presidential assent.”
It would be recalled that an officer in the office of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice,H. A. Tahir, issued a memo to the effect that the correct name of the community hosting the Nigerian Maritime University should be Okerenghigho and not Okerenkoko.
According to the statement, the Attorney General is said to have given the advise on the strength of a supreme court judgment.