Stakeholders in the maritime sector have reacted angrily to the recent decision of the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to freeze the accounts of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron.
According to a report by the Nigerian Pilot, the stakeholders insisted that the minister lacked the constitutional powers to freeze the institution’s accounts.
The academy has been without a substantive rector since the former rector, Dr Joshua Okpo, died December 9 last year.
Another rector, Dr Anthony Asiodu who was appointed to replace the Late Okpo died seven months after in July this year.
The report stated that Amaechi’s action was prompted by a petition allegedly authored by the bursar of the institution, Mr Folorunsho Kayode.
Sources quoted revealed that Kayode had been at daggers drawn with the registrar of the academy Mr. Mkpadiok N. Mkpadiok, who the late acting rector handed over to shortly before he proceeded on sick leave in June last year.
Both men are reportedly at loggerheads and are lobbying to be appointed rector.
While Kayode is said to be relying on his contacts at the ministry of transport, Mkpadiok is relying on his status as the indigene of Oron, the seat of the academy.
Some stakeholders however feel Amaechi should be held responsible should there be a breakdown of law and order in the academy. Speaking on the impasse, an Abuja-based rights activist and lawyer, Patrice Okwarra said:
“MAN Oron is a self-accounting institution and to that extent, Amaechi lacks the powers to freeze her accounts. “We should be careful what we do as public officers.
We can recall that one of the first decisions he took on assumption of office was the shutdown of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko; now he wants to kill MAN, Oron.”
Another legal practitioner, Peter Egbegih advised Amaechi to stop making hasty decisions that were detrimental to law and order and likely to cause a breach of public peace. “If his action is not backed by any known law of the land, then it remains an illegality,” Egbegih submitted.
Earlier this week, Amaechi said President Muhammadu Buhari would not spare anyone in his cabinet if found involved in acts of corruption. Amaechi stated that the president had made proclamations that set the tone for anti-graft agencies to go after anyone who has questions to answer, comprising members of his cabinet.