The 5th of September 2020, made it three years since I was appointed as Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria.
The last three years has been very interesting and very challenging for me, especially when we critically examine the huge task of restoring the Academy to its core mandate which is training seafarers for the Nigerian Maritime industry and the world at large.
On this premise, it is very necessary to brief the Maritime Stakeholders on the journey so far, as I have 12 more months by the Grace of God before my tour duty expires on 5th September 2021.
Before I commence my brief proper, it is very important for me to thank the Maritime Stakeholders for believing in me, even though it was not easy initially for them to trust in my ability to execute the herculean job of turning the fortunes of the Academy around. It will be recalled that at the 2016 World Maritime day celebration, the maritime stakeholders reported to the Minister of Transportation Rt. Hon. Rotimi Ameachi, that the Academy was in a near collapsed state and required urgent actions to salvage the situation. That conversation changed the narrative of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria for the better. Hence, I must thank the Honourable Minister for his doggedness and robust support, despite all the insults poured at him by different people for his efforts towards repositioning the Academy. I am sure he is having the last laugh now. He appointed me Rector and also inaugurated an Interim Management Committee led by Chief Sarumi to carry out the restructuring. I believe those individuals who mocked Our Honorable Minister now understand he had the best intentions at that time. The Governing Council Chairman Chief Demola Seriki and his team must also be thanked for the robust support and direction that has resulted in the tremendous achievements of the Academy in the last three years. On a personal note, all the goals I have attained within a very short while were because of his unflinching support. I thank him for that.
In terms of infrastructure, the current Management has done well as the Academy is currently an institution to beat. In terms of equipment, the current Management has also been able to upgrade seriously; it has acquired three state-of-the-art simulators, namely the Full Mission Bridge Simulator, the Full Mission Engine Room Simulator and the Multifunctional Classroom, which is the latest in marine training simulators and can sit up to 30 cadets in a work station. The multifunctional class room has the ECDIS, GMDSS, APAR RADARM HIGHVOLTAGE TRAINING software, RULES OF THE ROAD, PILOTAGE and BLIND PILOTAGE and the DP etc integrated in it. It is pertinent to state that the Academy is the only institution in Africa that has the Multifunctional Classroom. On 3 September 2020, partners the ARI of India assured the Management that all the Simulators will be in Nigeria by the end of September 2020 as soon as the embargo on international flights gets relaxed.
In order to avoid the mistakes of the past, the Academy has trained 15 of its staff as both users and maintainers at the manufacturer’s facilities in India. The ICT team was fully involved in the training as they can now assemble, dismantle as well as carry out repairs on the simulators. The Academy will therefore not need to fall back to the manufacturers for maintenance.
In the area of capacity building, the Academy has continued to provide quality training and has been able to train over 8,000 Nigerian professionals who are already deployed in the maritime industry. They have benefitted from several training programmes such as refresher courses and Mandatory Short courses and other specialised courses. For cadets, the Academy has been able to train over 456 cadets within this period. The Management has been able to buy publications and provide training materials such as free laptops for cadets. The classrooms are now smart class rooms equipped with smart boards and other electronic teaching aids. They are also air-conditioned. All hostels are now en-suite. To boost the quality of training, more lecturers have been engaged for all the schools including a foreign master mariner (Captain) from India and the Academy is looking forward to engaging more qualified international lecturers to support our Nigerian professionals.
The Academy invited the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to audit its facilities in December 2017. The Academy has also attracted the attention of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and partnered with the Nigeria Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) and other relevant stakeholders within the Maritime Industry. Some of these bodies have been supper supportive of the Academy. Whenever there is need for consultation and calls are put across to them and they never turned their backs on the Academy. The Academy is indeed very grateful for these supports. The perception of the Academy now is totally different. It is a complete departure from what it was.
On the part of the staff, the major problem was that of poor attitude to work. Initially, it was difficult to emplace attitudinal change but with adequate sanctions meted out to those who deliberately committed infractions, others have adjusted accordingly and staff discipline generally has improved in the Academy as evidenced in the drastic reduction of cases of misconduct amongst staff.
The Ministry of Transportation and NIMASA have been very supportive It is pertinent to state that NIMASA in recent times has paid more attention to the Academy in terms of technical support and regular dialogues. For instance, NIMASA recently sent a team to visit the Academy to inspect facilities with the aim of using the Academy as one of the institutions to train its NSDP cadets. The team from NIMASA was overwhelmed with the level of transformation at the Academy. The visit has also shown some commitments by NIMASA, because in the past, there was a disconnection between NIMASA and the Academy as they showed little interest in the development of the Academy. However, recent events show that they have reconnected and we are happy about that.
The challenges caused by some members of the host community has not improved from what it has been in the past. Those responsible have been made to understand that the Academy is the Maritime Academy of Nigeria and that it belongs to all Nigerians.. The truth is that, there are some criminal elements within the Host community who use the general population as a shield to carry out all their crimes . The fact is that every society in Nigeria has some bad elements within and it is the bad elements in Oron that are actually picketing the Academy and believe that they can hold the institution hostage. They now understand that it is no longer business as usual.
There are contractors who have always held the Academy hostage in the past. These set of people have allies within the works, procurement and bursary departments of the Academy. They conspire to maneuver documents, demanding payments for non-existent projects. They write all kinds of fake petitions and deploy blackmails efforts to paint my office dirty just because I blocked all leakages. When anti- graft agencies or the National Assembly invites them, to defend their allegations, they simply vanish. There are some journalists, who are on the payroll of these criminals. All they do is propagate fake write-ups in furtherance of their blackmail efforts for pecuniary interests. Currently, two journalists would soon face some Federal judges to answer for their untoward activities.
We are friends of the press but we have noticed lately that some ‘journalists’ have become soldiers of fortune who pretend to be journalists and they use the pen to blackmail people for personal interest. They have forgotten that they do have any form of immunity for libelous publications. That notwithstanding, there are some journalist who have been exceptionally good, these are the few we acknowledge as true journalists and we shall continue to partner with them. As far as the current Management is concerned, we will continue to do our work and ensure that it is done to the best of our ability.
The Management wishes let the general public know that the Academy is open for them to verify anything they have doubt about instead of listening to some criminals who have their objective, which is to break open the account of the Academy as they have done in the past. This Management has said no to that. For the criminals and the blackmailers, we dare them to continue but definitely, they should remember that Nigeria is not a failed state. At the end of the day, they will pay for their crimes and it shameful because so far, all their predictions that the Academy would not progress have come to zero. To the glory of God, the Academy has grown from strength to strength. The Management is therefore poised to continue working and would not be bothered by the thoughts of these criminals have proven to be inconsequential. It is necessary to reiterate that the Academy is recognized internationally; the IMO is happy with the Academy on the progress made so far and has also donated over 200 books to the Academy’s library `11133 to further encourage us. Other stakeholders have also contributed in one way or the other and we are very grateful.
Having given this background, I wish to continue with my brief on the situation report at the Academy.
- The Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) was established in 1977 to train shipboard officers and ratings as well as shore-based management personnel. Accordingly, the Academy has contributed greatly to the manpower development in the Maritime Sector worldwide, considering that several cadets trained in the Academy have made positive impacts in the Sector. Unfortunately, the quality of training in the Academy declined overtime and manifested in the poor quality of cadets produced in later years. This decline was caused by maladministration arising from deviations from the core mandates of producing seafarers for the maritime industry to concentrating on awards of contract. Consequently, cadets’ training between 2010 and 2016 was relegated to the background and the multiplier effects manifested in other problems which have majorly been addressed by the current Management. It is pertinent to state that the IMO at some point also threatened to remove the Academy from its white list as a training provider. Prompted by the sad development, the Federal Ministry of Transportation intervene by constituting a committee in January 2017 to audit the Academy and make recommendations to the Ministry of Transportation.
- On completion of the audit of the Academy, an Interim Management Committee (IMC) was set up 6 September 2017 to run the Academy. Its mandate was to restructure and reposition the Academy, with a view to bringing the institution at par with like academies worldwide. The IMC concluded its assignment in March 2018 and proposed useful recommendations, especially training reforms. These training reforms were to be executed by the Rector who was also a member of the IMC. Therefore, as the IMC exited, the Rector was left with the herculean task of leading a new Management. Subsequently, a Governing Council led by Chief Demola Seriki was constituted for the Academy in March 2018. The purpose of this situation report is to acquaint the Maritime Stakeholders with activities of the Academy, with emphasis on its achievements in the training and administrative reforms as well as infrastructural development from 6 September 2017 till date.
- The Academy was faced with myriads of constraints as at the time the Rector assumed duty in September 2017. These constraints include:
- Falling standard of training.
- Over bloated cadets’ enrolment.
- Demoralized manpower.
- Infrastructural decay.
- Poor maintenance of facilities.
- Unnecessary employments.
- Dearth of teaching aids.
- Inadequate lecturers.
- Deplorable hostels with crowded rooms.
- Makeshift library facility with inadequate current books of reference.
- Poor filing/data management system.
- Decaying state of sporting facilities.
- Abandoned projects.
- Negative publications by the Press (sponsored).
- Misplacement of priorities in the application of resources.
- Certificate rackets by some staff.
- Activities of some contractors.
- Huge debt profile.
- Picketing of the Academy by some individuals from the Host Community.
- Irregular funding by NIMASA.
- Poor salary for academic staff.
- Poor attitude to work by some staff.
- Despite this scary situation, it is gratifying to state that the Management has resolved most of the challenges highlighted.
EFFORTS BY THE CURRENT MANAGEMENT TO REPOSITION THE ACADEMY
- The IMC completed its assignment in March 2018 and the responsibility of piloting affairs of the Academy was vested on the current Management led by the Rector. In its resolve at transforming the Academy, the Rector ensured full implementation of recommendations by the IMC. This resulted in tremendous improvement in academic activities, especially with the introduction of reform programmes aimed at emplacing a conducive environment for training activities to thrive.
- It is pertinent to state that despite the myriads of constraints confronted with, the current Management has been able to change the narrative by focusing more on measures that obviously facilitated the restoration of the Academy to its core mandate. This feat was attained through critical examination of the challenges and fashioning out ways of enhancing quality training. Consequently, prominent constraints of decay in training facilities, employment of unqualified lecturers as well as other irregularities such as over-crowded hostel rooms, poor library facilities, dearth of teaching aids and relevant books of reference were addressed. Below are some of the measures adopted:
- Review of Curriculum and Reduction in Cadets’ Intake. A review of existing curriculum was conducted with inputs from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Association of Marine Engineers and Ship Surveyors of Nigeria (AMES), National Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). Consequently, the number of cadets’ intake which hitherto was about 1,800 was reduced to 259 in the 2018/2019 Academic Session and 261 for the 2019/2020 Academic Session. This action is in line with IMO’s directives.
- Emplacement of Conducive Learning Environment. Existing classrooms and lecture theatres were in deplorable states with very old, broken and unbefitting chairs and desks. These classrooms/lecture theatres have been renovated and remodelled to smart classrooms, furnished and equipped with modern multimedia teaching facilities including SMART interactive whiteboards. Furthermore, abandoned projects for the construction of two additional blocks of classrooms were completed, furnished and commissioned. Similarly, the Academy’s Survival Pool which was constructed over 19 years ago never functioned due to poor construction work. The pool consistently failed to retain water beyond 24 hours after pumping. The same survival pool has been reconstructed and remodelled into two survival training pools and is currently in use.
- Upgrade of Facilities. The Academy’s former Library was a makeshift arrangement and unbefitting of a training institution. This was further compounded as a structure initially constructed to serve as the Academy Library and Resource Centre was also never utilised as it was abandoned. The building was observed to have decayed extensively and equally unbefitting of a standard library facility. Consequently, the structure was completed/ remodelled and upgraded to the standard befitting of a modern library. The new library facility which has been commissioned and put to effective use. It is stocked with relevant books, furnished and equipped with surveillance systems to prevent stealing of books. Efforts are ongoing to provide more books of reference. Contacts have been made with IMO, the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Defense Attaches to the United Kingdom and India and these organisations have expressed willingness to assist in locating the relevant books and teaching aids for purchase to enhance cadets training. It is pertinent to state that in 2018, the IMO donated over 200 current publications and books to the Academy and more are still being expected. In a related development, the NPA has expressed willingness to provide the Academy with more relevant books of reference. UNITAR has also pledged to assist the Academy in areas of equipment and facilities.
- Procurement of Simulators from India. The Academy has completed all arrangements for the procurement of 3 modern advance simulators from a reputable Simulator company, the Applied Research International Simulation, India. The procured simulators are the Full Mission Bridge Simulator, the Full Mission Engine Room Simulator and the Multifunctional Classroom Simulator which has capacity for 30 students per session with software for other stand-alone simulators. The procurement process, including pre-shipment inspection has been completed; however, the delivery of the simulators was delayed due to the international lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The cheering news is that all the Simulator are expected arrive Nigeria before the end of October 2020 if international air travels permit.( Due to Covid)
- Provision of Learning Materials to Cadets for Free. All cadets of the Academy have been issued with a laptop each and books of reference as well as relevant publications for free as against previous arrangement where cadets were issued with pamphlets only. It is pertinent to state that this measure was a precursor to the online lectures for cadets and has facilitated ease of learning and consolidated on the improved standard of training. In addition, cadets now enjoy free mandatory short courses. This is a plus for them as they do not need to come back after graduation to pay and do these courses
- Recruitment of More Professionals. The Academy has employed additional fifty-one (51) professionals including two captains (Master Mariners); one from India and the other from Nigeria since 2018. The employment of the selected professionals was to fill critical positions that will enhance the quality of training as well as training related support services. Also, improvements have been made in the welfare of the Academic Staff to encourage them and boost productivity. The breakdown of staff employed is as follows:
- School of Nautical Studies (2 captains) -11
- School of Marine Engineering -10
iii. School of Maritime Transport Studies- 6
Sub Total – 27
(2) ICT staff -14
(3) Library -5
(4) Legal (Lawyer) -1
(5) Civil Engineer -1
(6) Architect -1
(7) Quantity Surveyor -1
(8) Accountant -1
Total – 51
OTHER REFORMS CARRIED OUT IN THE ACADEMY
- In view of necessity to eliminate the rots in the Academy, several reforms were carried out. These reforms were aimed at reviving professionalism and eliminating sharp practices in the Academy in line with global best practices. Below are some of the reforms undertaken by the current Management.
- Financial Audit. A comprehensive financial audit was carried out from 2016 – 2017 and several infractions were uncovered. Staff who have questions to answer were queried in line with Public Service Rules and other extant regulations while those that have cases to answer have been interacting with the anti-graft agencies.
- Establishment of Directorates and Restructuring of Departments. Sequel to the approval of the Governing Council, the Management established the Directorate of Strategy, Research and Development as well as the Directorate of Logistics in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Similarly, the Specialised Seafarers Training Centre was re-established in 2019. The objective for the establishments of these directorates was to close some operational gaps identified by the Management and this has successfully been achieved.
- Creation of Course Files for Lecturers. Course files have been opened for lecturers in the Academy in line with global best practices. Hitherto, course files for lecturers were non-existent. The IMO during the last audit of the Academy in December 2017, directed that lecturers should have course file and this directive has been complied with.
- Introduction of Additional Short Courses. The range of short courses for the Maritime Industry has been increased with two additional courses. These are the STCW Ship Security Officer (SSO) and Port-Facility Security Officer (PFSO) courses. Also, mandatory short courses have been introduced to cadets for free. Hitherto, cadets pay for these courses after graduation.
- Registration of Cadets with Nautical Institute and IMEREST. All deck cadets of the Academy have been registered as Associate members of the Nautical Institute, UK. Similarly, all the Engineering cadets have been registered as Associates members of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMEREST) UK. Their memberships of these professional international maritime bodies have given them edges over their counterparts in other maritime institutions.
- Introduction of Sea Experience for Cadets. The Academy in collaboration with the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria secured a 4 month sea experience for 59 cadets to consolidate classroom instruction. Hitherto, cadets that are due for the Student Industrial Works Experience Scheme (SIWES) were made to undertake 4 months SIWES programme in companies with little or no impact on their training or practical experience in the Maritime space. Hence, the sea experience provided, has better placed the cadets competitively ahead of their counterparts in other maritime institutions. However, the sea experience is not the actual sea time required for cadets; it is only a live exposure to the maritime platforms and environment, which would better enhance their understanding during classroom instruction.
- Rebranding of Certificates. The Certificates previously issued to graduates of the Academy lacked relevant security features. This encourage certificate racketing by criminal elements in connivance with some staff. In the light of this, the Academy has rebranded all its certificates with improved security features such as imprinted marks and barcodes etc to prevent forging.
- Release of Backlog of Certificates. There were backlogs of cadets’ certificates dating back to 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015 that were abandoned and not ratified. However, the current Management reviewed over one thousand copies of National Diploma and Higher National Diploma certificates which were hitherto abandoned, out of which over 90 per cent have been ratified, signed and released. The remaining certificates are still being processed and shall be released in due course.
- Capacity Building for Staff. The Academy projected to train 30 of its staff comprising lecturers/instructors and ICT technical staff in India on the use, handling and maintenance of the newly procured simulators. This concept was to ensure that when the simulators are delivered, their deployment for training as well as periodic maintenance are done internally without dependence on the manufacturers. Accordingly, the first batch of 15 staff have completed the training in India while the second batch of another 15 staff are on hold pending the relaxation of the international border closure. Furthermore, six (6) Seminars/Workshops have been organized to enhance the capacity of staff in general, with emphasis on training the trainers. In addition, staff have attended International Conferences such as IMO conferences, the Blue Economy Conference in Kenya and the Offshore Technology Conference. The participation at the seminars and conferences are aimed at improving capacity of staff and enable them function effectively as lecturers. The Academy has also introduced mentoring programme for middle level officers to build their capacity for career progression.
- Cadets Feeding/Welfare. Hitherto, feeding arrangement for cadets was handled by the Academy. However, this created a lot of irregularities as money budgeted for feeding were often mismanaged while cadets suffer from poor feeding. Consequently, the arrangement for feeding was outsourced, and the initiative tremendously improved cadets’ feeding. It is pertinent to state that this particular action has been hailed by the cadets who are the direct beneficiaries as they now feed better. In the same vain, abandoned 2 blocks of hostel were completed while four existing hostel blocks were remodelled. This brought about significant increase in the number of hostel accommodation for cadets and reduction of number of cadets from 18 cadets per room to 2 cadets per room. Additionally, works for completion of 2 abandoned blocks of hostel has reached advance stage.
- Medical. The Medical Centre of the Academy has also been remodelled and stocked with requisite drugs and reagents to cater for cadets’ health. Hitherto, the Medical Centre was an eyesore and not befitting of a healthcare facility. Efforts are ongoing to recruit additional medical doctors on contract basis to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of the Centre.
- Security. The security architecture of the Academy has been overhauled to check criminal activities especially theft of government properties, thus reducing criminal activities to the barest minimum. A seminar aimed at enhancing efficiency was organized for all security operatives in the Academy. The Academy has equally installed intercoms to enhance communication within while Closed-Circuit Television cameras have also been installed around the Academy to further enhance all round security within. Furthermore, the Academy main gate has been redesigned, reconstructed and fitted with automated modern access-control and surveillance equipment. Also, a reception was constructed at the main gate and equipped with walk through metal detectors, surveillance cameras and access control devices. The new gate and reception have further improved on existing security arrangement in the Academy, especially access control.
- Staff Audit. The exact staff strength of the Academy could not be determined when the Honourable Minister assumed duty. This necessitated an audit exercise using biometrics to capture all staff of the Academy. The outcome revealed that as at July 2018, the staff strength of the Academy was 639 as against the strength of 804 previously declared; thus, weeding out 165 ghost workers previously in the system. As part of the exercise, a new smart identity card was issued to the present staff. The card has a micro-chip that contains all information about each staff and is also configured for access control as well as the biometric staff attendance clock-in/clock-out systems installed to check attendance related infractions by staff. Furthermore, to consolidate on the gains of the staff audit, an exercise to determine the authenticity of certificates presented by staff (Academic and Non-Academic) at the point of employment and during their service in the Academy was conducted in October 2019. This further exposed some irregularities in employment as about 96 staff were found to have been employed either with fake certificates or without any result at all. Some of these irregularities are currently being addressed.
- Prudent Management of Resources. The Management has successfully curtailed financial recklessness in the Academy through prudent application of funds and emplacement of measures that encouraged probity and accountability. Consequently, leakages in the system have been blocked and a culture of savings inculcated. This has ensured that only training and infrastructural development with direct impacts on cadets are given priority as evidenced in the various upgrade of facilities in the Academy.
- Legal Matters. The Academy has been plagued by over 50 contract related court cases emanating from the actions of past administrations, especially between 2011 – 2017. Most of these contracts were discovered to have been fraudulently awarded with several attempts made to obtain payment for none existent projects with collusion of some staff. The legal team of the Academy which has since been strengthened has resolved most of the cases with favourable judgements secured for the ones determined by the court.
- Improved Relationship with Maritime Stakeholders Towards Enhancing Cadets Training. In consideration of the quest to restore academic excellence and ensure conformity with international best practices, the Academy in 2018 attracted the IMO and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research UNITAR to audit its facilities. These audits provided the desired opportunity for improvements in the quality of training in the Academy in line with global best practices. Similarly, the Academy collaborated with major stakeholders in the maritime industry locally. Some of the stakeholders include NIMASA, AMES, SOAN and NAMM amongst others. These collaborations have been very impactful in the reorganization of the Academy. All these organisations have greatly inspired our confidence, We are grateful.
- Staff Discipline. Some staff of the Academy were discovered at various times to have absented themselves without leave for periods ranging from 3 months – 3 years. Their actions of the affected staff were concealed by their colleagues until same were uncovered by the current management. Sadly, they continued to receive salaries during their unauthorised absence until their activities were uncovered. It was also discovered that some other staff had engaged themselves in acts of misconducts. The misconducts include refusal to proceed on transfer to involvement in partisan politics, theft and certificate racketeering amongst others. The affected staff were investigated in line with the Public Service Rules and presented to the Governing Council for further action. The Governing Council, after its deliberations, terminated the appointments of the affected staff as deterrence to others. It is pertinent to state that as a result of the Governing Council’s action, staff discipline has improved in the Academy.
TRAINING FOR THE MARITIME INDUSTRY
- Apart from cadets training, the Academy is also involved in the retraining/training of staff of the Maritime Industry. From January 2018 to March 2020 before the national lockdown, a total of 8,508 seafarers including participants for Certificate of Competence were successfully trained. The breakdown of the number of seafarers trained is as follows:
- Number of Certificate of Competence participants -1,707
- Mandatory Short Courses participants – 6,801
- The following were some of the infrastructural reforms carried out:
- Completion of Abandoned Projects. The Academy was littered with over 23 abandoned projects. A legal review of the several contracts was carried out and most of them were determined in line with Public Procurement Act for abandoning projects after collecting money. A few contractors were re-invited because it was discovered during the legal review of their projects, the Academy did not meet its obligations, and this affected the projects. The Contractors in this category were subsequently directed to return to site and complete their respective projects. Presently, most of the projects have been completed and commissioned while only one is yet to commence due to legal issues. These projects include the Nautical Building which was abandoned for over nineteen years but now completed and currently houses the Administrative Block on one end and on the other end, the School of Nautical Studies with lecturers’ offices, smart classrooms, a smart chart room and simulation rooms. Other projects completed are 2 blocks of classrooms abandoned at foundation stage, 2 blocks of cadets’ hostel abandoned at second floor block work level as well as construction of internal road in Phase 2 area and 3 blocks of staff accommodation in Phase II and Phase III areas amongst others. One of the completed staff accommodations was abandoned at roofing, one at half way block work while the third was at DPC level.
- Remodelling of Structures. The Academy has an Auditorium as well as a Library and Resource Centre. Unfortunately, these facilities were never used due to poor workmanship in the construction and use of substandard materials and equipment for its finishing and fittings. Consequently, the Management decided to remodel these facilities to meet contemporary standards. The projects have been completed, furnished, commissioned and put to effective use. Other projects remodelled include the new Simulation Centre, existing cadets’ hostels as well as the old ICT/Simulation Centre. Additionally, extensive renovations and remodelling works were carried out on the Academic Block, with all the lecture theatres and classrooms on the building, remodelled to smart classrooms and theatres. In the same vein, all existing classrooms in the Academy have been remodelled to smart classrooms, fitted with multimedia devices including SMART interactive whiteboards and projectors. Furthermore, the deplorable state of sporting facilities in the Academy was observed to have negative effects on physical training and fitness of cadets. Consequently, all the sporting facilities including sports pavilion were remodelled while the basketball, lawn tennis and volleyball courts were reconstructed and fitted with synthetic turfs.
- Improved Transportation. The vehicles in the Academy were previously in very deplorable condition as most of them were in various states of disrepair while a few others that are serviceable breakdown frequently. This constituted impediments in arrangement for mobility and transportation of cadets. Consequently, vehicles in the Academy’s inventory were assessed and the serviceable ones were repaired and currently being maintained, while additional brand-new ones were purchased. A total of 10 brand new vehicles, comprising three coaster buses (2018 model), three Hiace buses (2018 model), two Hilux vans, one Peugeot 507 sedan car and one Toyota Land Cruiser SUV were purchased. The new vehicles have boosted the Academy fleet and improved on its transportation and mobility needs.
MEASURES TAKEN TO CONTAIN THE NOVEL CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19)
- In line with protocols by the various health institutions and authorities, the Academy made concerted efforts at ensuring the health and safety of cadets, students and staff as well as visitors that relate with each other on campus daily. Accordingly, some guidelines were promulgated to foster good personal and respiratory hygiene on Campus. Also, proactive measures were emplaced by the Management to encourage and enforce compliance with established COVID-19 protocols. The measures include:
- Online Lectures for Cadets. The Academy leveraged on already deployed ICT infrastructures to commence online virtual lectures to cadets in March 2020 after the national lockdown was directed by the Federal Government as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. It is pertinent to state the Academy was the first institution in Nigeria to commence online lectures after the national lockdown was activated in March 2020. So far, the online training has been successful. Also, the cadets commenced their first semester online examinations on Wednesday 5 August 2020. Other assessments of the cadets are also done online.
- Temperature Checks. Compulsory temperature checks before entry into the Academy and other strategic locations within its premises. To encourage and enforce this measure, the Academy has ensured the following:
(1) Procurement and installation of 3 Thermal Cameras for temperature checks at designated locations.
(2) Procurement and installation of 4 Non-Contact Infrared Thermometers for temperature checks at designated locations.
(3) Procurement of 100 Non-Contact Laser Gun Infrared Body Thermometers for temperature checks at the Medical Centre, Main Gate and other designated locations.
- Increased Level of Hygiene. Hand Sanitising/Disinfection of Surfaces has been made compulsory. To this end, the following measures have been emplaced.
(1) Provision of alcohol-based hand sanitizers for cadets and staff.
(2) Provision of alcohol-based spray sanitizers/disinfectants for cadets and staff (4 bottles of 100ml spray for each cadet and staff).
(3) Procurement and installation of 210 pieces of automatic motion sensor sanitizer dispensing machines at the main gate, all entrances to classrooms, office blocks and other designated locations.
- Compulsory Use of Facemasks. A total of 12,100 pieces of KN95 face masks have been procured for cadets and staff (5 pieces for each cadet and 5 pieces for each staff).
- Physical Distancing. Staff and cadets are to practice physical distancing including all established safety and precautionary measures. Consequently, the following measures have been emplaced.
(1) Reduction of classroom size from 30 cadets to 20 cadets.
(2) Minimum of 2 meters distance between desks/chairs in classrooms.
(3) Suspension of feeding at the central refectory.
(4) Adequate arrangement in hostel accommodation to cater for 2 cadets per room.
- Other Measures. To reduce the risks of contracting the COVID-19, some additional preventive measures were also promulgated. These include:
(1) Suspension of all events that attracts gathering of more than 20 persons at a time.
(2) Procurement of 70 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment for medical staff and lecturers.
(3) Placement of embargo on all visits, except for very critical official matters.
- Fumigation of Campus. The Academy has procured 3 fumigating machines. As a result, she now has capacity to fumigate its entire campus (offices, classrooms and hostels accommodations) without any external assistance or outsourcing the service to contractors. It is pertinent to state that the Medical Centre and some offices were recently fumigated by own Environmental Maintenance Unit staff.
- Activation of Campus Task Force on COVID-19. The Academy has activated a Campus Task Force on COVID-19 to coordinate all efforts at preventing/curtailing the spread of COVID-19. The Task Force is led by the Head of Health and Services Department of the Academy.
AWARD OF BEST MARITIME TRAINING INSTITUTION IN NIGERIA 2019
- The Academy was awarded the Best Maritime Training Institution in Nigeria in 2019 by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). The award was in recognition of the efforts of the Management in the training of Seafarers in Nigeria.
12.It is noteworthy that this task has been successfully carried out, with several milestones recorded since September 2017. These include improvement in the standard of training, creation of conducive atmosphere for learning as well as procurement of advanced training equipment. Other measures taken include improvement in the welfare of cadets and staff, development of impact projects, completion of abandoned projects.
13.This Management led by me is saying thank you for all your support. God bless.
Commodore DE Effedua (Rtd)
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