NNPC, NOSDRA pledge collaboration to stem oil spills

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) have expressed their willingness to work closer aimed at mitigating the incidences of oil spills across the country.

Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, made this known when he received the Director General of NOSDRA, Mr. Idris Musa, along with his management team at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on Wednesday.

Kyari stated that as a National Oil Company, the NNPC pipelines, flow stations and assets spread across the country were jointly owned by the Federation.

He maintained that the Corporation produces crude oil to maintain a balance sheet for the nation, noting that the NNPC had taken several steps to deploy technology to stem incidences of oil spill.

“We have taken a number of steps to stem oil spill by deploying technology in order to make sure that whenever there is an oil spill incidence, it is contained almost immediately. We contain the incidences of oil theft, pipeline vandalism and acts of saboteurs and we intend to bring it to the barest minimum,” Kyari said.

He noted that the NNPC operated both crude oil and petroleum products pipelines adding that the Corporation was collaborating with all its partners to curb incidences of oil spill in all areas of its operations.

The NNPC helmsman said the Corporation would also forge closer ties with NOSDRA to proactively forestall oil spill in areas that are prone to incessant incidences.

Earlier, the Director General of NOSDRA, Mr. Musa, said the Agency was prepared to partner the NNPC in mitigating oil spill in all areas of its oerations stressing that the partnership would ensure a good operating environment for the operators and the inhabitants.

He added that breaking of petroleum products pipelines did not provide food, water and good environment for the people rather the malaise bleeds the national purse of revenues that would have being used to provide developmental infrastructure for the various tiers of government.

Ogoni Clean-up on track, Nigerians should support HYPREP – Bassey

Environmental Rights Activist, Nnimmo Bassey, has called on Ogonis and all Nigerians to support the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in the on-going clean-up of Ogoniland.

Bassey made the call when he led a delegation of members of Oil Watch Africa from 15 African countries to HYPREP on an assessment visit to some remediation sites in Ogoniland.

Receiving the team, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil who explained the processes adopted by HYPREP in the clean-up, informed the team that the clean-up project commenced eight years after the report was submitted to the Federal Government of Nigeria by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

In a statement by HYPREP, Dekil was quoted as saying that the time between the date of submission in 2011 and 2016 when the clean-up was officially flagged off by President Buhari necessitated the review and modification of some of the strategies recommended in the report.

The Project Coordinator said the review and modification of some of the strategies does not mean that HYPREP has deviated from the recommendations in the UNEP Report as all such modifications are done with the input of UNEP.

While inspecting one of the remediation sites, Bassey expressed satisfaction with the works HYPREP is doing and confirmed that remediation has commenced in Ogoniland.

He expressed disappointment that despite the several activities going on at various sites across Ogoniland, people are still saying the clean-up has not commenced. Bassey said he appreciates the anxiety of the people who expect to see the work move at a very fast pace but pointed out that the clean-up project is a highly technical and complex work that requires expertise, experience and a lot of preparation.

Speaking to HYPREP staff, Nnimmo Bassey said members of the Oil Watch Africa are in Port Harcourt for a conference on the impact of oil on the continent, adding that it was important for the team to visit Ogoniland to see the work that HYPREP is doing and to see the state of the cleanup efforts.

The environmental rights activist said the visit was also to enable members from other African countries learn about the consequences of pollution and how difficult it is to restore the environment after pollution has occurred. Bassey said keeping the environment clean was everybody’s business as hydrocarbon pollution affects both the environment and humans and urged all stakeholders to ensure that Ogoniland remains clean after the clean-up.

He dispelled speculations that HYPREP funds are being mismanaged, explaining that the structure set up for the management of finances and for appropriating funds for HYPREP project is very well set up.

Bassey who is also a member of the HYPREP Board of Trustees (BoT) stated that people of integrity with very stringent control over finances are on the board of the Project, adding that the funds for the Project is held by the Ogoni Trust Fund with community people and other stakeholders as signatories to the account and not a kobo goes out without due process.

“HYPREP office does not determine which fund is released and which fund is being used. The strict nature of the control and the milestone set by HYPREP and the whole organizational structure, the BOT, GC, PCO, is such that any fund to be released must be matched by clear set goals and what it is going to be used for,” Bassey said.

He said ‘the clean-up is an excellent avenue to get youths employed to multiply skills that can be extended to other Niger Delta communities by the time the remediation project is expanded. This is an incubation lab. We must do all we can to ensure that this is a success that the environment is restored’. He encouraged youths to take advantage of the employment and training opportunities that the Project offers.

He emphasized that Ogoni clean-up is a signature project and that everyone involved in the delivery of this project desires to leave a legacy. Bassey called on everyone who doubts the commencement of the clean-up to visit the remediation sites across Ogoniland to see things for themselves and urged everyone to be patient with HYPREP since remediation is on course.

Modular refinery to begin operation in 2020

The 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery being developed by Waltersmith Refining & Petrochemical Company Limited with equity investment from the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) would be completed in May 2020.

This date was confirmed by the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote and the Director of Finance and Personnel Management, Mr. Isaac Yalah inspected the project site on Monday at Ibigwe, Imo State, in company of the Chairman of Waltersmith, Mr. Abdulrasaq Isah and the Executive Vice-Chairman, Mr. Danjuma Sale.

The progress completion of the project stands at 65 per cent, seven percent ahead of the original schedule. The engineering and procurement components had also been completed, with construction at 60 per cent.

Giving his assessment after taking a tour of the site, Wabote described the project as investment channelled in the right direction. He hailed the contractors-Lambert Electromac and Zerock for their remarkable pace of execution, dedication and expertise, noting that they continued with the project despite the onset of the rainy season.

He also expressed delight with the high number of Nigerians working on various aspects of the project, stating that it underscores President Mohammed Buhari’s commitment to create employment for young Nigerians from the activities of the oil and gas industry. “I hope similar projects would come on stream pretty soon to generate employment for Nigerians.“

In line with the requirements of the succession plan requirements of the Nigerian Content Act, Wabote charged the contractors to train and absorb more Nigerians in senior management positions and make them permanent members of their companies, even after the project phase.

Wabote also noted that the Ibigwe modular refinery was the first of such projects to be undertaken by the NCDMB and Watersmith and hinted that the Board had sanctioned another modular refinery project to be developed at Calabar, Cross River State.

In his comments, the Chairman of Waltersmith thanked the Executive Secretary for the visit and affirmed that the company was satisfied with the quality of work from the contractors. He also noted that Waltersmith had been steadfast on its obligations to the firms. “We expect you to remain consistent with us as well. But we are very happy with what we have seen and we are looking forward to commissioning and beginning to sell diesel and kerosene from this site in May 2020.”

The Project Manager of Lambert Electromac, Mr. Mohamad Chit stated that all outstanding construction at the site were above the ground and being fast tracked. He stated that the installation stage is expected to take four weeks when it begins in October 2019.

Chit also said the modular refinery project begun on a good footing with the host community and had continued to enjoy conviviality from the local population.

The Board and Waltersmith signed the equity investment agreement in June 2018. Wabote had explained at the ceremony that the investment decision was in line with the Board’s vision ‘to be the catalyst for the industrialization of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors.’

He added that the Board was also keen to support the Federal Government’s policy on modular refineries and meet the key objectives of the Petroleum Industry’s Seven Big Wins launched by President Mohammed Buhari in October 2016 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Program (EGRP).

Why we support Buhari govt – Niger Delta ex-agitators

*NDDC to improve procurement process, fund management

A group of ex-Niger Delta agitators has pledged to support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement recently by the Niger Delta Creek Force, the group congratulated the President on his successful inauguration on May 29, 2019, describing Buhari as a visionary leader with a burning desire to develop the Niger Delta in particular and Nigeria in general.

The NDCF expressed confidence that Buhari would consolidate his achievements and turn things around for the betterment of the Niger Delta during his second term in office, according to the PUNCH.

It called on other previously aggrieved groups in the region to sheathe their swords and rally round the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to usher in development which had eluded the region for so long.

Noting that the President had done well in the area of youth empowerment programmes, a development it said had impacted positively on the lives of youths in the region, thereby reducing crime and criminality in the region; the group expressed optimism that the peace and the ongoing development in the region in terms of infrastructural development and human capital development would be sustained and consolidated.

Meanwhile, the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Prof Nelson Brambaifa, has said the Commission will continue to follow the proper public procurement procedures to ensure that its funds are applied judiciously for development purposes.

Prof. Brambaifa stated this at the opening of a one-week workshop for the Commission’s executive management and directors at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Port Harcourt.

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the Commission’s mandate included delivering services that give full value for money, noting that it was necessary for the management to be prudent in its efforts to drive development in the Niger Delta region.

Prof Brambaifa said that the workshop on the procurement processes would impact positively on the workings of the NDDC as it relates to public procurement and the management of funds for the interventionist agency.

He remarked: “Our goal is clear; we want everyone to be conversant with the procurement process because it is not something that should be left for only procurement officers. The experts have made it simple for us to understand the issues in procurement.

“I have no doubt that someday we will fully integrate the electronic data management into our procurement system. We will adopt the electronic platform to enhance the efficiency and transparency of our processes.”

The NDDC boss said that it was important that the Commission’s staff fully understand the procurement process to ensure that funds meant for development projects and programmes were used judiciously.

The NDDC Director for Procurement, Engr. Theophilus Alagoa, explained that the training was organised to enlighten officers of the Commission to know their roles in the procurement process.

He said further: “We want NDDC staff to wake up to their responsibilities by arming them with knowledge. We noticed that a lot of people don’t know their roles.  In fact, every department in NDDC has the power to procure for itself. The procurement unit is only there to ensure compliance with the Public Procurement Act.”

NDDC to restore electricity to Niger Delta communities

A pilot power project that would restore electricity to Ubima and Isiokpo in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State would be commissioned before the end of the month, according to the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa.

Prof. Brambaifa gave the assurance when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Ikwerre Traditional Rulers, Eze Blessing Wagor, Nye-Nwe Ali Isiokpo in his palace. He was accompanied by the NDDC Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Dr. Chris Amadi, and other directors of the Commission, who were on inspection of projects in Ozuoba, Omagwa, Ubima and Isiopko.

Prof Nelson Brambaifa said that he was shocked to learn that the Ikwere kingdom had been without public power supply for over two years. He described it as “anomalous and absurd,” stating that the situation needed to be corrected urgently, as part of a region wide intervention in communities of the Niger Delta region.

The NDDC boss said that the Commission was determined to face challenges of development, to improve the lives of the people. “We swung into action immediately to address these challenges, because the people of the Niger Delta region deserve better.”

He promised that “the electricity project, which is almost completed, will be commissioned in the next two weeks.

Prof Brambaifa said that the NDDC was using the restoration project for Ubima and Isiokpo as a pilot scheme that would eventually cover all the other distressed areas in the Niger Delta region.

He appealed to the traditional rulers and benefitting communities to ensure that the electricity infrastructure in their areas were protected from vandals and thieves.

In his own remarks, Dr Chris Amadi stated that the communities alerted the NDDC to the deplorable power situation in the area, adding that “for two and half years, the Ikwerre people lived without electricity.”

Dr Amadi stated: “I am happy to announce that work has started in earnest in Ubima and Isiokpo. In fact, the contractor has assured us that the electrification project will be completed before the end of this month.”

The Traditional Prime Minister of Isiokpo, Chief Wobo Amadi, who spoke on behalf of the Nye-Nwe Ali Isiokpo, said that the NDDC had shown that it could be relied upon for development projects. He said the people were particularly impressed by the prompt action of NDDC, saying to Professor Nelson Brambaifa:“You are a man of your words. You have done so much in three months and we are confident that you will do more.”

He expressed delight that their agony from many years without electricity would soon be over and pledged that the communities which are benefitting from the NDDC would guard the projects “jealously and protect them from vandalism.”

The Managing Director of Income Electrix Limited, Mr. Matthew Edevbie, the contractor handling the project, explained that the entire Ikwerre Local Government Area was going to be served by two sources of power; one from Ahoada and the other from Rumuosi sub-stations. He added: “In Ubima, we have installed eight transformers and within the next one week there will be power in the town.

“We are appealing to the communities to safeguard the power infrastructure. The youth leader in Ubima has promised us that our equipment and installations will be protected from being stolen or vandalised.”

He charged the people to realise that the power asset was being provided for their own good and should, therefore, be secured. He urged them to also note that it was important to pay for the power they consume to ensure that the providers were able to sustain the service, adding that electricity supply was like a commodity that should be paid for to guarantee continued service.

He remarked that NDDC had made provision for the supply of some metres to be distributed free to poor consumers in the community.

FG empowers Niger Delta youths, women in agriculture

The Federal Government has empowered  40 Physically Challenged Persons, 188 youths and women from the Niger Delta region with N300,000 at the graduation Ceremonies organised by the Ministry Of Niger Delta Affairs for trainees in Edo, Delta and Akwa Ibom States recently.

One hundred and four youths and women trained on fishery and poultry farming graduated from Benin-city, Edo State, 84 trainees graduated from Asaba, Delta State, while 40 Physically Challenged Persons, trained on Bead-making, confectionery and entrepreneurship, had their graduation ceremony at Amayam Clan, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state respectively.

One of the mandates of the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is to organise human capacity development, as well as skill acquisition programme for youths, and take adequate measures to ensure peace, stability and security with a view to enhancing the economic potentials for the region. Under President Buhari administration the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has kept to her mandates.

The Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, represented by Mr Philip Ndiomu, a Deputy Director in the Economic Empowerment Department of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, at the Benin City Centre, told. the recipients to put  the knowledge gained to good use.

Usani said that the training programme were aim at equipping  participants with practical and theoretical  knowledge on poultry  and fishery production as well as other  business management skills that would  make their individual businesses grow.

The Minister   advised them to put the N300, 000.00 (Three Hundred Thousand Naira) starter packs they received to good use, to the extent that they would also empower others to start their own businesses.

Usani enjoined them to patiently grow their businesses as immediate success or profit was not guaranteed.

The Minister revealed that the training and empowerment programme was continuous and assured those clamouring for inclusion that they would be considered in subsequent ones.

He added that the programme would not be stopped now as it was the dream of government to see that youth and women of the Niger Delta region became self-reliant and self- sustaining.

In his remarks, Senator Mathew Urhoghide of Edo South Senatorial district, thanked the Ministry of Niger Delta Affair for partnering Edo state and other stakeholders on the project as he advised  recipients of the programme ‘to utilize the opportunity to better their lots in life’ as it might never come to them again.

The Senator stressed that the programme was very important to the Federal Government as it was keen on attending to the yearnings of youths and women of the Niger Delta region. He urged the trainees to be strategic on the businesses they do with their starter packs.

Similarly, Senator Sam Anyanwu of Imo state who was also at the graduation ceremony in Benin-City, advised the trainees to take the knowledge serious, make good use of it and not waste the starter pack on frivolous things.

One of the trainees and physically challenged beneficiary from the Akwa Ibom State Centre, Prince Akaninyene Isidore noted: “Before now, persons with disabilities were insignificant in the society as far as charity is concerned, but we are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for developing people with disabilities through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.”

The Director Corporate Affairs, NDDC, Mr Charles Obi Odili, addressing participants in the Miss Niger Delta Beauty Queens Unity Walk Campaign Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt

NDDC backs campaign against drug abuse, illicit trafficking

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has assured that it will continue to support efforts to curb drug abuse in the Niger Delta region.

The NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, stated this while addressing participants in the Miss Niger Delta Beauty Queens Unity Walk Campaign Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer, represented by the Director Corporate Affairs, Mr Charles Obi Odili,  said that the Commission would do all that was necessary to keep the youths away from illicit drugs and harmful practices.

The NDDC Director observed that drug abuse was destroying the family structure and the social fabrics of the society, noting that “when this happens, it imperils the nation and hampers development.”

One of the mandates of NNDC is to executing other works and performing such other functions, which in the option of the Commission are required for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region and its people

Meanwhile the NDDC Boss advised the youths to keep away from drugs while stressing the need to inculcate the right values to the young ones as a way of curbing drug abuse.

The Special Adviser on Youths to the NDDC boss, Mr Charles Anyanwu, said that the Commission would initiate a programme to effectively address the issue of drug abuse in the Niger Delta region.

He lamented that many youths in the region were abusing drugs and getting involved in nefarious activities, stating that NDDC was ready to collaborate with other concerned stakeholders to fight the battle and win the war on drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

Also speaking at the occasion, Miss Niger Delta Ambassador for Peace and Development, Gina Reginald, said that drug abuse had reached an epidemic proportion, with the rise in drug addiction of young adults.

She said that the Miss Niger Delta Queens and models across the region had to take the campaign to the streets to create awareness. She remarked that street walk was anchored with the theme: Say no to drug abuse and drug kills the beauty in you.

$500m modular refinery to be established in Ondo

The Ondo State government has partnered with a firm, Crown Refinery and Petrochemical Limited, to establish a modular refinery in the coastal area of the state.

According to the PUNCH, the state would reportedly provide only the land while the company will provide the equipment and the personnel, some of whom would be employed from the state.

The proposed initial design capacity of the modular refinery is about 30,000 barrels per stream day, which is expected to be completed within 36 months. This can be scaled to 60,000 bpsd, the Chief Executive Officer, Crown Refinery and Petrochemical, Mr Kassim Adeleke, stated.

Giving more details to journalists about the project, Adeleke, who led the team to the governor’s office, said $500m would be spent at the initial stage, saying the money would be sourced from the development partners of the company.

Recently, the state government and the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the multimillion-dollar project proposed to be sited in Ugbonla and Ogboti coastal towns in the Ilaje Local Government Area of the state.

It was learnt that the project would foster the development of the area and consequently boost the economy of the state, as it was projected to employ over 2,000 people, both directly and indirectly.

This is in line with the Niger Delta New Vision of the Buhari administration for the establishment of modular refineries in the region to spur development and provide more employment opportunities for youths in the region.

The PUNCH reports that the Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, while receiving the MoU from the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Sunday Abegunde, who had earlier signed the document with the representatives of the company, expressed delight over the development and pledged the support for the project.

He said, “Ondo State is safe for investors; we will do everything to ensure that this project is successful. Ondo State is strategically positioned among the Niger Delta States and Lagos State, which is the nation’s economic nerve centre, to make all business-minded investors reap bountifully from their investments in the state.”

Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer, Crown Refinery and Petrochemical, who led the team to the governor’s office, Mr Kassim Adeleke, said the company’s core business is to refine crude oil into petroleum products.

He explained that the refinery would be designed to process both imported paraffin and Nigerian crude into petroleum products, oils and lubricants.

Adeleke said, “We are going into the business of refining crude oil. The government of Ondo State would provide the enabling environment and incentives to support us as we actualise this vital investment. Apart from the project having the capacity to refine crude oil, it will also be producing 120,000 tonnes of base oil and 25,000 tonnes of lubrication oil on a yearly basis.

“The company will also be providing several infrastructural projects in the states and would create about 2,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities for indigenes of the state. It would also give scholarship to indigent students in the host communities.”

He said in Ondo State, he found professionalism, swift decision making, friendly communities and passion, such that in less than one year of opening talks with the state government, the company was set to commence the project.

In line with the Niger Delta New Vision plan of the Federal Government, four modular refineries, which are at different stages of completion, have so far been established in the region. They include: the NDPR Modular Refinery, Ogbele, Rivers State; OPAC Modular Refinery, Delta State; Ikwe-Onna modular refinery, Akwa-Ibom State; and the Walter Smith refinery, in Imo State.

Maritime University will fulfill Nigeria’s economic dream – NIMASA DG

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has stated that the coming of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), at Okerenkoko, marks the launch of an institution of critical importance to the economic development of the country.

According to ThisDay , Peterside, stated this during the maiden matriculation of the university, held at its take-off site at Kurutie, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State in April.

He said the school has fulfilled for Nigeria a major economic dream of having an institution that would produce high-end manpower for its growing maritime industry, while helping to develop the locals and build lasting peace in the Niger Delta.

It will be recalled that the Buhari administration saw to the completion of the Maritime University Okerenkoko Delta State through its New Vision Platform.

President Muhammadu Buhari having seen that the establishment of the university would bring lots of Development in the Niger Delta region he ensured that the university is completed, and academic session kicked off immediately to give better livelihood to the people.

The New Vision of the Niger Delta initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari is to ensure a better livelihood for the people of the Niger Delta.

In the past, Niger Delta indigenes have complained of marginalisation and neglect. But to reverse this trend, the Buhari’s administration conceived the Niger Delta New Vision to curb most of the restiveness in the region especially amongst the youth, and bring whoselome development to the region.

The establishment of the Maritime University is a clear proof that the Federal Government’s New Vision for the region is taking giant strides in ensuring a rebranded and better Niger Delta.

Meanwhile Peterside said “This is the fulfilment of a dream. Recall that many years ago, precisely in 2013, NIMASA initiated the idea of a Nigerian maritime university to fill a gap. We identified that if you want to grow your maritime industry, there are three important elements.

“One, is the asset, the vessel itself; the second one is the human capacity; the third is the supporting infrastructure. For all these three, the most important is the human element. And we clearly identified that fact that we are lagging behind in the human element and we needed to build capacity.

“To build high-end capacity, we need our own maritime university. We were among the leading maritime nations without a maritime university. So today is the fulfilment of that great dream.”

Peterside, while commending the Federal government efforts in financing the institution, he urged them to do.

“We appreciate the grant by the federal government to support the numerous grants given by NIMASA, acting also on behalf of the federal government. But, without a doubt, we need to put more money here because we need a lot of infrastructure apart from the human resource. We have a good number of professors. We need to put a lot of infrastructure in place,” he stated.

He stressed that NIMASA would intensify engagements with the, Vice Presidents Budget Office, and other stakeholders on how to collaboratively fund the NMU.

The DG added, “We are gradually repositioning this country to become a major hub for maritime activities. And when we say major hub for maritime activities, it is not just about trans-shipment or about shipment itself.

“It could be a hub just supplying manpower, supplying seafarers, doing insurance business or being in the business of ship finance. We are gradually becoming a hub, we are putting the right building blocks in place to make this country a hub for maritime activities and we would reap the benefits in a few years’ time.”

Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in his speech said the project was another demonstration of Niger Delta’s strategic importance to Nigeria. Osinbajo said it also showed how the federal government was “walking the talk in the Niger Delta.”

Osinbajo who was represented by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Edobor Iyamu, said the commencement of academic activities at the premier maritime university in Nigeria was another example of how the President Muhammadu Buhari government was “walking the talk in the Niger Delta region, which is not being viewed in terms of its past, but in terms of its potential.

He said “And this is a potential that is not limited to oil and gas, but is actually focused on the development of the human capital. We are confident that the Niger Delta, sooner than later, would come to be defined not by crude oil, but by the quantum of its human resource.”

In his remarks, the Pro-Chancellor of the University and Chairman, Governing Council, Chief Timipre Sylva, commended NIMASA’s vision and support for the university, saying the institution has demonstrated capacity to play a key role in the global maritime industry. Sylva said: “NMU had shown great capacity for rapid growth and development, a defining characteristic of upward mobile organisations the world over. We are fully persuaded that it is only a matter of time before this premier maritime university in Nigeria will play significant national, regional and global roles.”

The Vice Chancellor of NMU, Professor Ongoebi Maureen Etebu, disclosed that the federal government had fully implemented the N3.4 billion take-off grant for NMU in 2018 budget.

Niger Delta New Vision birthed take-off of Maritime University, development projects in region – Osinbajo

Speech by His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at the 1st Matriculation Ceremony of The Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, on Saturday, 6th April, 2019

(Delivered by Mr. Edobor Iyamu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Economic Matters/Niger Delta, Office of the Vice President)

Protocol

I bring very warm greetings from His Excellency Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, on whose behalf I’m standing here before you today.

Hearty congratulations to the management and staff of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko Delta State, 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.

This is a day that we have long awaited and looked forward to, and I am delighted that it has come, and we are here to witness it. A year ago, on the 12th of April 2018, to be precise, this University commenced academic activities, with a total of 370 students spread across 13 undergraduate programmes in three Faculties, namely: Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management.

In addition, there were 85 students admitted into the University’s Basic programme. They sat for the JAMB examinations, and the 59 who were successful were given admission into the University.

This University is one of the strongest demonstrations yet of the total and unflinching commitment of the Buhari Administration to the development and the progress of the Niger Delta. The President is a man of his word, and he has made that clear over and over again with regards to the Niger Delta, in the last four years.

You will recall that he touched on the issue of the Delta in his inauguration Speech on May 29, 2015. It was a measure of his determination to rewrite the story of a neglected region. People had come before him and paid lip service to the issues. You are all witnesses to how the Ogoni Clean-up failed to leave the drawing board.

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.

Since 2016, when the Buhari Administration flagged off the Clean Up of Ogoni land, we have seen actual implementation and progress. As I speak, 21 companies have been awarded remediation contracts, and 15% of the contract sum released by way of mobilisation fee. Some of the contractors have since commenced work on the affected sites, and others are currently mobilising to site. This award of contracts followed a very open and transparent international procurement process, as well as the laying down of a robust governance and oversight framework for the Clean Up. 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, as follows:

  • Niger Delta Exploration & Production situated Rivers State
  • Opac Modular Refinery situated here in Delta
  • Ikwe-Onna situated in Akwa-Ibom
  • Walter Smith in Imo State

One of them, the Niger Delta Exploration & Production is a brownfield project that is being expanded by 5,000bpd in the first phase. That expansion is now about 98% completed and will commence test-running from the 16th of April, 2019. The remaining three are greenfield projects and are all scheduled for commissioning this year.

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.

Permit me to also highlight our Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, aimed at ensuring that we bring an end to the tragedy that is gas-flaring in the Niger Delta. The impact of this is going to be enormous, not just in terms of health and the environment, but also in terms of economic opportunities. The successful bidders for the gas flare sites will be expected to create economic value from the gas hitherto being flared, and this will create jobs and wealth for citizens and for communities. Adverts for the commercialisation of the flare sites have already gone out and submissions of Expression of Interest are being received.  The next stage will be the shortlisting and award of concessions to the successful bidders.

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.

We have a vision that the Maritime University will come to be known around the world as a Center of Excellence in Maritime matters, and a repository of expertise and knowledge on the Niger Delta.

For all the matriculating students, and the pioneer staff, you can see why you have a great burden and responsibility on your shoulders. I enjoin you to discharge these with dedication and pride, and to continue to carry yourselves as excellent ambassadors of this University.

Once again, I congratulate you on this auspicious occasion, and I wish you the very best for the future.

God bless the Maritime University, God Bless the Niger Delta, and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you.

 

Editor’s note: The Vice President was represented at the event by Mr. Edobor Iyamu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Economic Matters/Niger Delta, Office of the Vice President