How President Buhari’s led administration is transforming the Niger Delta region. (A review of some of the programmes and activities of the administration in the last five years)
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it will strengthen its collaboration with the European Union, EU, through the Niger Delta Support Programme, NDSP, to resuscitate abandoned water infrastructure across the nine Niger Delta states.
According to a statement by the Commission, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, stated this when a delegation from the EU-funded NDSP3 pilot project paid him a courtesy visit on Tuesday at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He stressed the importance of institutionalising community-based management structure for the maintenance and sustainability of basic infrastructure in the Niger Delta region. He also harped on the need to develop a framework to ensure community ownership of water projects in the region.
Prof. Brambaifa commended the EU delegation for collaborating with the NDDC to ensure sustainability of water projects in the Niger Delta region, especially with the realisation that water was one of the basic needs of life.
He said, “We are looking forward to strengthening the collaboration with the EU, because water is life. We definitely need sustainable water projects because it is part of our mandate to bring potable water to the inhabitants of the Niger Delta region. It is one thing to organise a project like this, but it is another to ensure its sustainability. You don’t just start a water project and two months later you come to see that it had been vandalised.
“We are committed to this partnership with the EU to work out modalities to ensure that any water project we commission should be able to stand the test of time. We must find ways to safeguard our projects because it is one of our core mandates to bring sustainable development to the people of the Niger Delta.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer pledged to take the Niger Delta to the next level in line with the mantra of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
He called on the EU delegation to convince the international body to increase its financial commitment to the water project so as to help the region with safe drinking water that would address the challenges of water-borne diseases in the region.
The team leader of the NDSP, Albert Achten, told the NDDC boss that there was need to expedite action on the pilot project because its life span would terminate in May this year.
He, therefore, enjoined the partners to push for an effective and timely implementation of the EU and NDDC-NDSP3 pilot project.
Achten remarked that in the last two years a synergy had been developed between the EU-funded NDSP and the NDDC, stating that the key part of the synergy was the pilot project for reviving 45 abandoned water schemes in the nine Niger Delta states.
He recalled that the collaboration took off officially in November last year at a two-day Strategic Retreat for the Board and Management of the NDDC in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Further to that, he said that on February 2, 2019, the NDDC demonstrated its commitment to the project by writing to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning on the programme.
According to him, the project is up and running, as two very important tasks had been completed. He, however, stressed that time was running out since the contract between the EU and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning would end in the next few months.
He said: “We solicit the continued support of the NDDC for the project, especially as it concerns the release of funds. The NDSP part of the project is financed by the EU, but the logistics for some of the activities are expected to be taken care of by the NDDC.”
*Says peace in Niger Delta outcome of VP Osinbajo’s intervention in region
The victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the recent presidential elections is a testimony to the overwhelming confidence of Nigerians in his capacity and commitment to rebuilding Nigeria and taking the country to the Next Level.
The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, made this assertion in a congratulatory message to President Buhari after his re-election for another four-year term on February 23.
In a statement from the Commission, Prof. Brambaifa said that President Buhari has remained focused on his change agenda to strengthen governance and tackle corruption, establish food security across the nation, improve healthcare efficiency, improve national security and protect lives and property, as well as rebuild infrastructure and create jobs for all Nigerians.
The NDDC boss stated that “it was important to note that President Buhari has shown commitment towards the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region,” adding that, for the first time since its establishment, the Commission was receiving the full statutory financial contribution of the Federal Government because of President Buhari’s determination to rebuild the region.”
Prof. Brambaifa said: “It is also important to recall that it took President Buhari for the Federal Government to begin to repay over N1.8 trillion owed NDDC since its establishment, so that more funds would be available to discharge our mandate, as well as our obligations to our contractors.
“It took the decisive action of the Federal Government, under the direction of Mr. President, to help restore peace, security and social stability in the Niger Delta. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, led a region wide interaction with the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and major stakeholders in the region and the peace we enjoy today is the result of his strategic intervention,” he added.
In November, 2016, in a move to address concerns in the region and see to its development, President Muhammadu Buhari held a meeting with Niger Delta leaders under the aegis of Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF. PANDEF made a 16-point demand to the Federal Government which was subsequently captured in the FG’s 20-point agenda to develop the region.
It would be recalled that in November 2016, President Buhari held a meeting with Niger Delta leaders under the aegis of Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF. PANDEF made a 16-point demand to the Federal Government which was subsequently captured in the FG’s 20-point agenda to develop the region. Following that meeting with elders in the region, in 2017, on behalf of the President, the VP Osinbajo undertook a tour of oil producing communities.in the region, and the Buhari administration’s Niger Delta New Vision was birthed, which focuses on the wholesome development of the region.
The statement further noted that the NDDC boss pointed out that the victory of President Buhari is a victory for all Nigerians, particularly the people of the Niger Delta region, stating that “it affirms our confidence in President Buhari’s determination to give all Nigerians a government which addresses their needs and bolsters our shared commitment to making the Niger Delta, in particular, a region which fulfills the expectations of the people.”
Prof. Brambaifa declared that the people are expectant that “the next four years will usher in a better country, under the leadership of President Buhari, which will improve their lives.” He avowed that NDDC will work even harder to facilitate regional development and improve the living conditions of the people.
He added: “We are happy to associate with you and will continue to work with you to fulfil your vision of a better country and your mission to make Nigeria and the Niger Delta a better place.
By Arikpo Dum
After decades of struggles, Government’s attention was drawn to the plight of the people of Ogoni. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) was invited to undertake an assessment of oil pollution in Ogoniland with a view to finding a solution that will bring an end to the sufferings of Ogoni people.
In 2011, UNEP submitted a report to the Federal Government on Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland. Today, that document is popularly referred to as the “UNEP Report” among stakeholders. The report contains detailed information on the assessment which covered contaminated land, ground water, surface water, sediment, vegetation, air pollution, public health, industry practice and institutional issues as well as recommendations and steps to be followed in carrying out the clean-up exercise.
On 2nd June 2016, the Federal Government flagged-off the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) with the mandate to Remediate the Environment and Restore the Livelihood of the people.
A Project Coordination Office (PCO) for HYPREP was set up to execute the clean-up project in Ogoniland headed by the Project coordinator, Dr. Marvin Dekil. HYPREP being a Federal Government Project is fully guided by the rules and regulations that apply in public service. To ensure full accountability and adherence to extant rules, staff from relevant Federal Ministries have been deployed to the project. However, the project takes into consideration the integration of local content in every aspect of the process. In this wise, the project has engaged, at various levels, manpower of different skills drawn from all the impacted communities.
The UNEP Report of 2011 which serves as a blueprint for the implementation of the clean-up of Ogoniland specifies some emergency measures that should be carried out prior to the remediation exercise to provide temporary relief to a people that have suffered years of no access to potable water and possible health challenges due to oil pollution. In implementing the UNEP Report, HYPREP commenced activities to update the baseline data of the UNEP Report which was written since 2011. To ensure accuracy, HYPREP had to carry out the exercise of collecting soil, surface and underground water samples in order to have the current status of the level of impact of oil spillage on the communities prior to the provision of portable water which is one of the emergency measures recommended in the UNEP Report.
HYPREP also carried out medical out-reach that covered Gokana, Tai, Khana and Eleme Local government areas where patients with various medical conditions were attended to including surgeries. The medical out-reach was to enable HYPREP collect primary data on the health status of people before the commencement of health impact study in the communities of Ogoni to ascertain whether there is a link between some ailments in the land and oil pollution.
In this regard, HYPREP has followed due process to engage qualified companies to carry out assessment and rehabilitation of existing water facilities; designing and construction of comprehensive water schemes; public health consultancy for the provision of a holistic report for the implementation of the recommendations in the UNEP Environmental Assessment Report on Ogoniland; and environmental consultancy to carry out scoping and assessment of oil impacted sites assessed by UNEP including those not captured in Ogoni land. These projects cover the four local government areas of Ogoni land.
HYPREP has through its Communication and Community Engagement Unit carried out sensitization exercise to the 21 impacted communities while successfully engaging the Traditional Rulers, Faith Based Organizations, Women Groups, Youths, Pressure Groups, Civil Societies, members of the press and Stakeholders.
The Project Coordination Office has engaged series of processes in preparation for the remediation works aside from soil and water sampling. HYPREP has carried out delineation and has successfully mapped out areas for remediation for all the sites covering depth and spread. Young scientists and others with relevant professional qualification from Ogoni have been trained and are currently working in HYPREP.
The livelihood programme is also being implemented as collection of data is continuous. HYPREP has already commenced the training of youths in the fabrication of garri processing machines through a tripartite agreement between HYPREP, Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Onne, a programme that is scheduled to last for 3 months. The Rivers State Government through the Ministry of Employment Generation and Economic Empowerment has also expressed readiness to collaborate and partner with HYPREP to train women and youths of Ogoni under the Sustainable Livelihood Programme. The best part of it is that several Ogoni youths that could have been in the labour market have been trained and employed by HYPREP, while others have been trained and are ready to be engaged by the contractors.
As a project of the Federal Government, all procurement processes adopted by HYPREP for the award of contract for the remediation works was in line with the Procurement Act of 2007. HYPREP has in keeping to the laid down procedure, followed due process in handling the award of contract for the clean-up project. Advertisements were placed on 30th March, 2018 in Federal Tenders Journal, local and foreign media for expression of interest by contractors for remediation works. The technical and financial bid opening exercise were conducted transparently and all Public Procurement Regulations were strictly followed as contained in the Public Procurement Manual. On the other hand, all companies bidding for contracts in any Government Agency are expected to possess stipulated documents and undergo pre-qualification processes as contained in the Public Procurement Act and this also applies to HYPREP.
At the end of the rigorous procurement process, 21 contractors who qualified were invited to a kick-off meeting to enlighten them on how the project will be managed, what is expected of them, engagement of local content, relationship with the host community and other issues that will enhance the smooth running of the project. On the other hand, HYPREP also carried out community by community engagement to sensitize them of the engagement of contractors for the first phase of the clean-up project and what they should expect from the contractors. They were also sensitized on the role of the traditional council, youths, women groups, interest groups and the community in general to the success of the project first as watch dogs to ensure the contractors delivered quality work and also to ensure security and peace during and after the clean-up.
To show and further confirm to the people of Ogoni the commitment of the Federal Government and the importance it places on the project, In January, this year, the Honourable Minister of Environment, Surveyor Suleiman Hassan Zarma, performed the ceremony of presenting the contractors to the communities and site handover in Alode and Obolo-Ebubu communities in Eleme Local Government Area and Buemene-Korokoro in Tai Local Government Area while the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil led the delegation for the site handover ceremony in Khana and Gokana Local Government Areas. A total of 16 sites has so far been handed over to contractors by HYPREP in Eleme, Tai, Khana and Gokana Local Government areas of Ogoni. This site handover has taken place despite doubts and series of propaganda to discredit HYPREP and undermine the intentions of the Federal Government for the Ogoni clean-up.
The Federal Government with good intent has re-engaged the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) – (the same UNEP that did the study that provided the basis for the report and recommendations) to work with HYPREP for the next 12 months to provide technical support and build the capacity of staff to empower them for optimum and effective performance. Yet people still say that HYPREP is a scam.
I am aware of growing concerns about the implementation of the emergency measures, as an observer I have been privileged to listen to the presentation by the Project Coordinator of HYPREP stating that the process for the implementation of emergency measures was at its final stage. Presently, the list of pre-qualified companies for the provision of potable water have been released on all HYPREP official social media platforms. Just as he promised, shortly contractors will also be introduced to site for the provision of potable water for the impacted communities.
Since its inception till date, HYPREP has recorded several milestones in coordinating the processes for the commencement of the remediation work in Ogoniland. The Federal Government has stayed committed to its promise to clean Ogoniland.
In my opinion, rather than sponsor negative propaganda against HYPREP and the Federal Government, people that feel things should be done differently should approach HYPREP to iron things out. The Ogoni clean-up is the best thing that has happened to the people of Ogoni after four decades of struggles. The great people of Ogoni should all form a united front and support HYPREP. The Youths should secure their territory and ensure the environment is peaceful for the contractors to operate successfully.
The energy and resources used in sponsoring propaganda to bring down HYPREP should be channelled into supporting activities that will add value to the people of Ogoni. Let every true Ogoni and all Nigerians support HYPREP in the Ogoni clean-up project.
Duum, a social commentator, writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State
The development in the Niger Delta under the Buhari administration through its New Vision is restoring peace and curbing the decadence that initially enveloped the region, writes Mary Oyibocha-Agbajoh in the Vanguard
Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. However, it requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice so as to meet up the people’s expectations.
This sole reason, requires leaders not just to understand the plight of the people they serve but also have a firm grip on issues affecting the masses so as to ensure a smooth transition and growth of the capacity of the people they serve.
Having this capability puts you in the top 1% of leaders and is a skill President Muhammadu Buhari internalizes even though some partisan individuals of influence are feeding a wrong message about the agenda of the President, because over the years our mindset as a country and people was used to a system where anything goes and rot is left unchecked.
Therefore, the process of re-evaluating, strategizing and taking a bold step forward is what the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is establishing as a foundation unto greater achievements. To prove wrong critics on the Buhari administration, take a look at the establishment of the New Vision for the Niger Delta, which is geared towards enhancing the well-being of the people in the region.
This administration saw to the actualization and take off of the Maritime University Okerenkoko, Delta State. The University got functional approval by the National University Commission (NUC), to commence undergraduate programme, effective from 2017/2018 session, and commenced academic activities on the 12th of April 2018. To ensure that the university enjoys privileges as other federal university Buhari approved an increased in the take – off grant allocated to the Maritime University Okerenkoko Delta State from N2billion to N5billion. Similarly, in November 2017 another N1billion was approved by the President to aid the support of essential infrastructural works and staff recruitment in the university.
In furtherance to reducing the epidemic of oil pollution in the Niger Delta area the administration launched the Ogoni clean-up project, and it set aside $ 170million USD for the clean-up. The Ogoni clean-up project is being managed by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) of the Federal Ministry of Environment. To enhance the remediation work President Buhari – led administration trained graduates from Ogoni land, who studied Environmental Science. The administration also flagged off the Ogoni Health Outreach Programme and about 5,815 patients were attended to and 65 surgical cases treated.
The amnesty programme feared to be abolished took a whole lot of people by surprise as an additional N35billion was approved for the rehabilitation and sustainability, re- integration of ex- agitators of the Niger Delta area. The indigenes of the communities were not left out, as they were given full academic scholarship in other to attain quality education with monthly stipends.
The unemployed youths today in the Niger Delta region are hopeful for a brighter future, as the Buhari led administration through the N- Power scheme has put a smile on their faces by empowering them with N30, 000 monthly allowances to ensure their wellbeing. The N- Power initiative has in no small measures curb youth restiveness in the area.
The license to operate modular refineries given under administration, would see to eradication of unemployment in the region by creating more jobs, business opportunities which will be of essential benefit to the youths in the region and Nigeria as a country, when the refineries kicks off.
Aware of the importance of infrastructure and good road network in the socio- economic development of a society, the Buhari administration has ensured the resumption of all abandoned projects awarded to different contractors across the Niger Delta region 2006, including the East West Road and the second Niger Bridge both projects are at the phase of completion.
It was the Buhari led administration that flagged off by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo the N120 billion Bonny – Bodo road project.
To ensure that there is no scarcity of food, and the prices are affordable for the masses the administration gave priority to the Agricultural sector, by setting presidential initiatives to boost it in the nine states of the Niger Delta Region and Enugu. The administration has completed six cassava processing plants in Bayelsa, Rivers, Abia, Ondo, Cross River and Imo states. In acquiring skills, the hand of this administration is feasible in the areas of business, trade, and craft.
One hundred and thirty youths in the Niger Delta were trained on poultry, agriculture, crop production and were given N1 million naira each by the Buhari- led administration. This contributed to the complete phase out of youth restiveness. Women who specialized in poultry and snail production were empowered between 350k- 500k each to start up business. Other women were trained in ICT and business hub, poultry and fish production.
Recently the Presidential Amnesty Programme commissioned a vocational in Agadagba – Obon Ese Odo Local Government Area, Ondo State for training the youths in oil and gas related field.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo paid a visit to the Niger Delta region where he met with elders and discussed with them, as regards restoring peace in the region.
The administration through the Ministry of Petroleum headed by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Petroleum Minister introduced the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, which was aimed at addressing the exit of gas flaring in the Niger Delta region.
This administration has put frame work for community – based participation in the oil and gas pipelines, and the oil and gas assets in the Niger Delta region.
The development in the Niger Delta in this administration is in no small measure restoring peace and curbing the decadence that initially enveloped the region.
Culled from The Vanguard
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.
*Says progress of University shows FG’s commitment towards developing Niger Delta & maritime sector
Vice Chancellor of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, Prof. (Mrs.) Maureen Ongoebi Etebu, has praised the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari for the continued development of the university and making it a success story.
Etebu said this has helped in sustaining peace in the Niger Delta region, while adding that the University has become a beacon of hope to Niger Delta youths.
She further stated that the Buhari administration’s efforts towards the development of the University also shows its commitment to improving the maritime sector, which is fundamental to the growth and development of the nation’s economy
The VC stated this on Monday while showcasing the institution’s impressive teaching facilities and infrastructure at its take-off campus to the Niger Delta New Vision team from the Office of the Vice President.
She said, “We are grateful to the Federal Government for its support, without which, the maritime University would not have taken off. They have been magnanimous to us,” while adding that the university’s development was in sync with the Federal Government’s New Vision for the Niger Delta.
“Indeed, we have been able to start only because the Federal Government energized the process and released funds to the Maritime University. Recall that the His Excellency (Vice President) even visited here (Niger Delta) and we are grateful. You can see the progress here already. And since the university started, it has contributed to the peace in the Niger Delta region,” she noted.
The VC, who was in the company of University staff members, added that the ongoing efforts in the university is an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were fully working for the development of the region.
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 Maritime University, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, commenced full academic activities in April 2018, when its first batch resumed lectures for the 2017/2018 session.
It has 13 departments 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.
According to the VC, over 300 undergraduates wrote the first and second semester exams in 2018.
So far, the University has, at January 27, 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.
The VC also lauded the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for its financial contributions towards the University’s development, a pointer to the synergy that underpins good relations among ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) under the Buhari administration.
She said, “NIMASA have been a big brother to us. Whenever we go to them they are willing to accommodate us. The DG of NIMASA has indeed been very supportive.”
The Special Assistant to the Vice President on Communication Projects/Niger Delta, Mr. Arukaino Umukoro, expressed his delight at the institution’s facilities, which he attributed to the Buhari administration’s commitment to the development of the Niger Delta region and the nation’s maritime sector.
In November 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari had 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 crucial infrastructure works and staff recruitment in the University. The Delta State government also donated two 500KVA generators to the University.
These efforts have 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, event hall, cafeteria, hostels, a health centre that also serves neighbouring communities, amongst others.
Noting that all lecturers in the university went through strict recruitment process before they were employed, the VC said, “All our academic staff have a minimum of second-class upper in their first degree. And they were all employed on merit without any powerful political connection,” she said, assuring that the university, which is a paramilitary institution, was poised to maintain its high standard.
Etebu said the University has great potential to positively impact development in the region and in the country.
“The maritime industry is global, and there are so many resources that have not been tapped until now. You have heard our university anthem, “sailing through the marine ways of the world”, so it’s limitless. Being a premier Maritime University, we want to keep the flag flying, and I know we would be number one for a long time.
Also, 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 offered scholarships to two students of the Maritime University.
“One of the many advantages of this institution is that we do not go on strike, being a paramilitary institution. A four-year course will always remain a four-year course,” the VC added.
Similarly, the Dean, Faculty of Marine Transport & Logistics Management, Prof. Godwin Ovuworie, said, “Maritime University is a unique institution that would cater for the needs of Nigeria’s maritime industry for years to come. We thank the Vice President and the President for this project because Nigeria needs it.”
Staff of the University also commended the Federal Government for its continued efforts in developing the university.
The Buhari administration’s Niger Delta New Vision is designed to “develop a new and prosperous Niger Delta through the Federal Government’s forthright partnerships with State Governments, the Private Sector and Local Communities.”
Ongoing projects under the Niger Delta New Vision include:
- Take-off of Maritime University in Delta State
- Commencement of Ogoni Clean-up
- Approval for the establishment of Modular Refineries
- Continuation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme
- Investments in infrastructure and development projects
Maritime University, Delta State:
- The Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, commenced operations in 2017 and, in November 2017, invited job applications for academic staff.
- President Muhammadu Buhari administration had approved an increase in the take-off grant from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn.
- Lectures commenced fully in April 2018 with a total of 196 students accepted into the University.
- The NUC approved commencement of academic activities in three faculties namely; Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management, with 13 departments across the three faculties.
- In November 2018, Maritime University and the University of Lagos signed an MoU with the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) for mutual exchange in human capital development
- Also, the CMU has offered scholarships to two students of the Maritime University.
- In June 2016, the Buhari administration started the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland devastated by decades of oil spills.
- The Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) (under the Federal Ministry of Environment) was established. Headed by Dr. Marvin Dekil, the Project Coordinator, HYPREP has carried out key activities so far:
- Training and hiring of some Ogoni graduates educated in Environmental Sciences to develop capacity for the Cleanup project.
- Demonstration of technologies in some of the oil impacted areas in Ogoniland, namely Bodo, K-Dere, B-Dere, Korokoro, Kwawa, Nsisioken etc where interested companies showcased their remediation technologies at no cost to government.
- A total of 201 samples were collected and analysed from eleven (11) sites in this exercise across the four (4) LGA.
- Delineation and scoping of selected hydrocarbon impacted sites is on-going.
- Twenty-Six (26) sites out of the Sixty-Four (64) investigated sites by UNEP across the four (4) Ogoni Local Government Areas have been earmarked. This is in line with the recommendations contained in the UNEP fact sheets.
- Over 20,000 patients were treated, and 365 surgeries carried out in Ogoniland during HYPREP’s Medical Outreach Programmes aimed at collecting preliminary data towards the implementation of UNEP recommendation on Health Study.
- Towards the implementation of UNEP recommendation on the provision of emergency measures (water supply and health study), HYPREP commenced the survey and sampling of drinking water sources in Ogoniland, and provision of potable water for communities.
- A total of 600 water samples was collected and analysed from 47 impacted communities across the four (4) LGAs of Ogoniland – Eleme, Gokana, Tai and Khana
- Next Phase of Clean-up: Remediation of selected twenty-six (26) sites identified in the 1st phase of the Clean-up exercise.
- The Next Phase will also include the conclusion of Procurement Processes for contracting experts for the remediation and clean-up of impacted sites, Construction of new comprehensive water schemes and rehabilitation of existing ones, Livelihood Assessment/Implementation Plan, Detailed Health Impact Assessment Study.
- Establishing modular refineries in the Niger Delta region would promote socio economic development and provide jobs for unemployed youths, thereby sustaining peaceful coexistence in the Region. It will also increase local content, mitigate negative environmental degradation associated with illegal refinery activities, crude oil theft and pipelines vandalism.
- The location of a modular refinery is strategic and influenced by proximity to the source of crude oil, producing marginal fields and tie-in to supply infrastructure or clusters.
- Three modular refinery projects have commenced construction:
- Niger Delta Petroleum Resources – Establishment of additional 10,000bpd Modular Refinery in Ogbele, Rivers State.
- OPAC Refineries – To establish 7,000bpd refinery in Umuseti-Kwale, Delta State (phase one)
- WalterSmith (Petroman) – To Establish 5,000bpd refinery in Ibigwe, Ohaji, Imo State.
- Two modular refineries are expected to be inaugurated by the end of this year.
Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP):
- The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) is an intervention programme initiated by the Federal Government to address agitations and militancy in the Niger Delta region.
- PAP engages ex-militants and youths from impacted communities in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment schemes.
- The Amnesty Programme has helped in maintaining peace and security in the Niger Delta, and improving the nation’s economy.
- There are currently 5,578 persons enlisted in the programme.
- So far, the programme headed by the Coordinator, PAP, Prof. Charles Dokubo, has facilitated the setting-up of small and medium scale businesses for about 4,450 ex-militants, while some foreign firms have offered direct employment to several trainees.
- For enhanced post-training engagement, the Programme plans to fast-track the establishment of small businesses for already trained youths in areas such as agriculture, particularly Poultry and Fish farming; Welding/Fabrication, and
BONNY-BODO ROAD PROJECT:
- The N120 billion Bonny-Bodo road project was flagged-off in October 2017 by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. The 34-kilometre road project, linking Bonny Island to the mainland was first mooted about 40 years ago.
- The ongoing Bonny-Bodo bridge and road project is a Public Private Partnership arrangement jointly funded by Nigeria LNG and the Federal Government.
- When completed, the 34-kilometres road would connect several major communities in the Niger Delta region and boost socio-economic development in the region.
Export Processing Zone (EPZ):
- The Federal Government approved the establishment of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) comprising the Gas City Project at Ogidigben, and the Deep Seaport in Gbaramatu, Warri South-West LGA, Delta State.
- When fully operational, these projects are expected to boost socio-economic activities and improve the security landscape of the Niger Delta region.
As part of the Niger Delta New Vision of President Muhammadu Buhari administration, two modular refineries in Niger Delta region are expected to be inaugurated by the end of this year.
OPAC Refinery, Umuseti, Delta State
Two modular refinery projects have commenced construction out of the 10 licensed projects identified for possible groundbreaking. They are the: Niger Delta Petroleum Resources – Establishment of additional 10,000bpd Modular Refinery in Ogbele, Rivers State; OPAC Refineries – to establish 7,000bpd refinery in Umuseti-Kwale, Delta State (phase one). Another refinery, WalterSmith (Petroman) – to Establish 5,000bpd refinery in Ibigwe, Ohaji, Imo State – is expected to come on board in the near future.
Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR) Refinery, Ogbele, Rivers State
The key objectives of establishing modular refineries in the Niger Delta region include the following:
- To promote availability of petroleum products in the country and boost economic development nationwide,
- To promote socio-economic development and provide jobs for unemployed youths in the region, thereby sustaining peaceful coexistence in the Niger Delta,
- To increase local content in Region,
- To mitigate and eliminate negative environmental degradation associated with illegal refinery activities, crude oil theft and pipelines vandalism.
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has presented award letters to 200 graduates from the Niger Delta region for its 2018 Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarship Programme.
According to a statement by the NDDC, during a pre-departure briefing and orientation at the Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, charged the scholars to be ambassadors of the Niger Delta region as they carry the flag of Nigeria to foreign lands.
The NDDC Managing Director, who was represented by the Director Special Duties, Dr Princewill Ekanim, said that the Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship Programme was an important component of the Commission’s human capital development programme.
He said: “We recognise the need to bridge the huge manpower deficit in the Niger Delta region, especially in Engineering, Science and Technology, EST, the fields that drive the oil industry. Our aim is to build a pool of professionals that can compete at the global stage.”
Ekere noted that the programme which started in 2010 had so far benefited 1,904 students, mostly at the Masters’ Degree level. He said that about 4,000 candidates applied for this year’s programme, out of which 200 were selected.
The NDDC boss said: “Our scholars over the years have made outstanding results. In 2016, one of the beneficiaries in the masters’ programme, graduated as the overall best student at the Coventry University in the United Kingdom. In 2017, another beneficiary graduated with a distinction and was the best graduating student in the department as well as the entire post-graduate programme in environmental studies.”
Ekere advised the scholarship beneficiaries to avoid distractions so as to also excel in their studies. “We are sending you out to go and study and come back to impact the Niger Delta region and the entire Nigerian system for good. That is the essence of the scholarship programme,” he emphasised.
In his opening remarks, the NDDC Director for Education, Health and Social Services, Mr. Goshua Okejoto, urged the beneficiaries to make the best use of the opportunity given to them to acquire technical expertise for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region.
The EHSS director, who was represented by the deputy director, Mrs. Winifred Madume, reminded the beneficiaries that they owed the Niger Delta a duty to succeed. He added: “As you go to your various schools, conduct yourselves well as we expect excellent performance in all that you do.”
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the best Ph.D. awardee, Miss Mary Essien, thanked the NDDC for making the selection process fair and transparent. She pledged that they would do their best to be good ambassadors for the region.
The successful graduates for the 2018 post-graduate foreign scholarship programme had gone through electronic examination conducted at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, before a final selection interview.
The Niger Delta New Vision brings together a robust set of initiatives, projects and solutions aimed at ensuring sustainable development in the Niger Delta. Vice President Osinbajo is leading the #NDNewVision engagement, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government.
Niger Delta New Vision
Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
State House, Abuja, Nigeria.