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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

#NDNewVision PHOTOS: 1st Matriculation Ceremony, Maritime University

Photos from the 1st Matriculation Ceremony of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, which held today, Saturday, April 6, 2019, at the University’s take-off campus. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, was represented at the event by Mr. Edobor Iyamu, Senior Special Assistant to the President, Economic matters/Niger Delta, Office of the Vice President.

The occasion was attended by the Acting Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro; representative of the Hon. Minister of Education; the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of the Governing Counciil, Nigeria Maritime University, Chief Timipre Sylva, Director-General/CEO, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, top government officials, traditional rulers from Gbaramatu Kingdom, amongst others.

 

Buhari administration remains committed to Niger Delta’s development – VP Osinbajo

*Says Maritime University poised to become Centre of Excellence, as Institution celebrates 1st Matriculation ceremony

 

The Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, is proof of the unwavering commitment of the Buhari Administration to the development and progress of the Niger Delta.

This was stated by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, during the University’s maiden Matriculation ceremony, which held on Saturday, April 6, at its take-off campus in Kurutie, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.

Prof. Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by Mr. Edobor Iyamu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, on Economic matters, Office of the Vice President, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari “is a man of his words and he has made that clear over and over again with regards to the Niger Delta, in the last four years.”

 

It would be recalled that the take-off of the Maritime University was actualized under the Buhari administration following the commencement of its operations in 2017.

The take-off of the Maritime University is in fulfilment of the Buhari administration’s commitment to develop the Niger Delta in line with its New Vision for the region.

The Vice President’s speech, which was delivered by Mr. Iyamu, highlighted the determination of the Buhari administration to change the narrative of a region that had been neglected in the past.

He said, “The seriousness with which we view the Niger Delta informed the series of unprecedented engagements that resulted in the comprehensive development Plan known as the New Vision for the Niger Delta; with the goal of ensuring that the huge resources of the Delta are put to work for the good of the people of the region.

“That New Vision has guided us every step of the way, and is what has helped propel the Ogoni Clean Up to fruition, and helped birth this University in which we are gathered today.”

Congratulating the management and staff of the University in his speech, Vice President then urged students of the institution to become excellent ambassadors of this University.

“I congratulate you all on the commemoration of this milestone occasion, the inaugural matriculation ceremony. Congratulations also to all of the matriculating students. As the pioneer set of students of this landmark institution, you are all standing on the threshold of history, and we rejoice with you,” he noted.

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

The Vice President further noted that the Federal Government is focused on developing the human capital of the Niger Delta in different sectors, noting that in the near future, the region would not only be known for its oil and gas potential, but also in the quality of its human capital resources.

“These and more are examples of how we are walking the talk in the Niger Delta region, which we view not in terms of its past, but in terms of its potential. And this is a potential that is not limited to oil and gas, but is actually focused more on the development of human capital. We are confident that the Niger Delta will sooner than later come to be defined, not by crude oil, but by the quality of its human resource, the abundance of its agriculture, its rich cultural potential, and so on,” he added.

He also noted the ongoing Ogoni Clean-up/remediation efforts, the establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta and the Presidential Amnesty programme that has helped to maintain the peace and stability on the region, and the Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, aimed at ending gas-flaring in the region.

“And while the remediation is ongoing, there are also a lot of efforts aimed at ensuring that affected communities enjoy basic amenities like clean water, and that jobs and training opportunities are extended to them.

“Our Modular Refinery Programme is another important cornerstone of the New Vision for the Niger Delta. There are currently four modular refineries at different levels of completion, across the region.

“The Amnesty Programme has continued to receive funding and support from the Buhari Administration, because we understand just how important it is for the young people of the region. We will continue to ensure that it delivers on its mandate and responds fully to the needs and yearnings of the beneficiaries.

Prof. Osinbajo noted that the long-term impact of the administration’s Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, would not just improve health and the environment, but also increase economic opportunities as it would “create jobs and wealth for citizens and communities in the region.”

The Nigeria Maritime University commenced full academic activities for the 2017/2018 academic year in April, 2018, with a total of 370 students spread across 13 undergraduate programmes in three Faculties, namely: Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management.

Earlier, in her address, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Ongoebi Maureen Etebu, described the occasion as an epoch-making moment, praising the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for providing the fertile environment for the institution to come into being.

Etebu said the university is a ship set to sail, as the school now boost of three vibrant faculties.

The matriculation ceremony was held for all in-takes from the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 academic sessions.

The occasion was attended by the Acting Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro; representative of the Hon. Minister of Education; the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of the Governing Counciil, Nigeria Maritime University, Chief Timipre Sylva, Director-General/CEO, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, top government officials, traditional rulers from Gbaramatu Kingdom, amongst others.

Another highlight of the well-attended ceremony was the presentation of cash awards to some high-flying students, who have excelled in their respective course of studies, since the inception of the institution, with CGPA of 4.0 and above.

Niger Delta: Maritime Varsity will boost job opportunities, save nation foreign exchange – VC

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.