Nigeria would benefit immensely from the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, as it would boost job opportunities for Nigerian professionals in the Maritime industry, and it would also save the nation foreign exchange.
The Vice Chancellor of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, Prof. (Mrs.) Maureen Ongoebi Etebu,
stated this recently during a tour of the institution’s impressive teaching facilities and infrastructure at the take-off campus while she attributed the progress of work in the university to President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the region.
Highlighting the benefits the nation is poised to gain from having the institution, Etebu further said the institution would save the nation a great deal of foreign exchange it hitherto spent on training Nigerians in maritime sector in other countries.
She affirmed that the standard of training in the institution was at par with international best standards, negating the need to further send students abroad to obtain such trainings. She stated the university had registered with the International Maritime Organisation, a body that upholds the highest standard of maritime practice and training in the world. She further affirmed that the university, which is working in collaboration with the Caribbean Maritime University, has brought peace to the Niger Delta region.
She said,” We can now do local training and not send our citizens out of the country, because we have set standards that can compete with anywhere in the world; and through NIMASA, we are registered with the IMO (International Maritime Organisation).
‘When you train cadets here in Nigeria you give them the exposure they can get abroad. Right now we are collaborating with Caribbean Maritime University and we are also making arrangement with the World Maritime University in Sweden. We will be producing high rate cadet without spending any dollars or pounds which will save our nation a great deal of foreign exchange,’ she said.
The VC, who was in the company of staff members, also affirmed that graduates of the university would soon bridge the gap of local skilled content in the maritime industry. She noted that such development would equally save the nation foreign exchange spent on the wages of skilled expatriate workers. ” when you go to ships you hardly find Nigerians, but in another two years this would be rectified as we should have graduated our first batch from the department of transport and logistics management and environmental management. And in another three years we will be producing marine engineers that can help man this area where we lack man powers.’
Etebu also thanked President Buhari’s administration for its trail-blazing role in the development of the university. She praised the Federal Government for releasing funds for the continued development of the institution, noting that it was an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were fully working for the development of the region.
She said, “The Federal Government has been magnanimous to us. We are grateful to the Federal Government for its support, without which, the maritime University would not have taken off.”
“Indeed, we have been able to start only because the Federal Government energized the process and release funds to the Maritime University. Recall that the His Excellency (Vice President) even visited here (Niger Delta) and we are grateful. You can see what we are doing with the funds that were released to us. And since the university started there has been peace in the Niger Delta region.”
In November 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari approved an increase in the take-off grant allocated to the University from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn. This sum was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly in November 2017. Similarly, an additional N1B was approved by the President to support essential infrastructure works and staff recruitment in the University in November 2017. The Delta State government has also donated two 500KVA generators to the University.
These grants have in no small measure aided the take-off of the institution, which arguably boasts world-class teaching facilities which include: state of the art lecture rooms kitted with projectors and air conditioners, school laboratories, Olympic size swimming pool, library, ICT centre, event hall, cafeteria, hostels, a health centre that also serves neighbouring communities, amongst others.
It would be recalled that the Maritime University commenced full academic activities in April 2018, when its first batch resumed lectures for the 2017/2018 session.
According to the VC, at least 300 undergraduates wrote the first and second semester exams in 2018.
As at January 27, the University has so far pre-screened 476 new students who have commenced academic activities for the 2018/2019 session. Of this number, the faculty of Engineering had the highest number of pre-screened students comprising 280 students.
It would be recalled that the University was granted approval by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to commence undergraduate degree programmes effective from the 2017/2018 academic session.
The NUC approved that academic activities commence in three faculties namely; Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management.
The Faculty of Transport has four departments, namely: Nautical Science, Transport Logistics Management, Marine Economics and Finance, and Port Management.
The Faculty of Engineering has five departments – Marine Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Petroleum and Gas Engineering, and the Faculty of Environmental Management has four departments: Environmental Management and Pollution, Meteorology and Climate Change, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Marine Geology.
In October, last year. the NMU signed an academic partnership with the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in the presence of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Under this MOU, the CMU has offered scholarships to two students of the Maritime University.
Staff of the university also thanked the Federal Government for its unwavering support in making the university a success story, insisting that the institution would save the nation a great deal of foreign exchange. Professor Francis Nwosu of the Department of Fisheries and aquaculture noted that the university’s output would in the long run contribute to the economic growth of the nation, “Maritime university wants to develop our human resources that will exploit the resources of the ocean and that will add to our nation’s economic growth.