The Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, is proof of the unwavering commitment of the Buhari Administration to the development and progress of the Niger Delta.
This was stated by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, during the University’s maiden Matriculation ceremony, which held on Saturday, April 6, at its take-off campus in Kurutie, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Prof. Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by Mr. Edobor Iyamu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, on Economic matters, Office of the Vice President, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari “is a man of his words and he has made that clear over and over again with regards to the Niger Delta, in the last four years.”
It would be recalled that the take-off of the Maritime University was actualized under the Buhari administration following the commencement of its operations in 2017.
The take-off of the Maritime University is in fulfilment of the Buhari administration’s commitment to develop the Niger Delta in line with its New Vision for the region.
The Vice President’s speech, which was delivered by Mr. Iyamu, highlighted the determination of the Buhari administration to change the narrative of a region that had been neglected in the past.
He said, “The seriousness with which we view the Niger Delta informed the series of unprecedented engagements that resulted in the comprehensive development Plan known as the New Vision for the Niger Delta; with the goal of ensuring that the huge resources of the Delta are put to work for the good of the people of the region.
“That New Vision has guided us every step of the way, and is what has helped propel the Ogoni Clean Up to fruition, and helped birth this University in which we are gathered today.”
Congratulating the management and staff of the University in his speech, Vice President then urged students of the institution to become excellent ambassadors of this University.
“I congratulate you all on the commemoration of this milestone occasion, the inaugural matriculation ceremony. Congratulations also to all of the matriculating students. As the pioneer set of students of this landmark institution, you are all standing on the threshold of history, and we rejoice with you,” he noted.
“We have a vision that the Maritime University will come to be known around the world as a Centre of Excellence in Maritime matters, and a repository of expertise and knowledge on the Niger Delta,” he added.
The Vice President further noted that the Federal Government is focused on developing the human capital of the Niger Delta in different sectors, noting that in the near future, the region would not only be known for its oil and gas potential, but also in the quality of its human capital resources.
“These and more are examples of how we are walking the talk in the Niger Delta region, which we view not in terms of its past, but in terms of its potential. And this is a potential that is not limited to oil and gas, but is actually focused more on the development of human capital. We are confident that the Niger Delta will sooner than later come to be defined, not by crude oil, but by the quality of its human resource, the abundance of its agriculture, its rich cultural potential, and so on,” he added.
He also noted the ongoing Ogoni Clean-up/remediation efforts, the establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta and the Presidential Amnesty programme that has helped to maintain the peace and stability on the region, and the Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, aimed at ending gas-flaring in the region.
“And while the remediation is ongoing, there are also a lot of efforts aimed at ensuring that affected communities enjoy basic amenities like clean water, and that jobs and training opportunities are extended to them.
“Our Modular Refinery Programme is another important cornerstone of the New Vision for the Niger Delta. There are currently four modular refineries at different levels of completion, across the region.
“The Amnesty Programme has continued to receive funding and support from the Buhari Administration, because we understand just how important it is for the young people of the region. We will continue to ensure that it delivers on its mandate and responds fully to the needs and yearnings of the beneficiaries.
Prof. Osinbajo noted that the long-term impact of the administration’s Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, would not just improve health and the environment, but also increase economic opportunities as it would “create jobs and wealth for citizens and communities in the region.”
The Nigeria Maritime University commenced full academic activities for the 2017/2018 academic year in April, 2018, with a total of 370 students spread across 13 undergraduate programmes in three Faculties, namely: Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management.
Earlier, in her address, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Ongoebi Maureen Etebu, described the occasion as an epoch-making moment, praising the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for providing the fertile environment for the institution to come into being.
Etebu said the university is a ship set to sail, as the school now boost of three vibrant faculties.
The matriculation ceremony was held for all in-takes from the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 academic sessions.
The occasion was attended by the Acting Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro; representative of the Hon. Minister of Education; the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of the Governing Counciil, Nigeria Maritime University, Chief Timipre Sylva, Director-General/CEO, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, top government officials, traditional rulers from Gbaramatu Kingdom, amongst others.
Another highlight of the well-attended ceremony was the presentation of cash awards to some high-flying students, who have excelled in their respective course of studies, since the inception of the institution, with CGPA of 4.5 and above.