Posts

We’ll Ensure Completion of Critical Niger Delta Development Projects – Osinbajo

*VP highlights Niger Delta’s diverse human capital, cites progress of FG’s New Vision initiative for the region

In furtherance of its New Vision development agenda for the Niger Delta, the Buhari Administration will ensure the completion of critical projects it has embarked upon in the region, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo who was represented at the event by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Edobor Iyamu, stated this on Tuesday at the 6th Anniversary Lecture/Niger Delta Awards Organised by Gbaramatu Voice Newspaper, which held in Lagos.

According to him, “in 2017, following my tour of the Niger Delta, which involved extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the region, the New Vision for the Niger Delta was birthed in response to the various challenges which had been plaguing our people. The objective of this New Vision is to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from their wealth, through promoting infrastructural developments, environmental remediation and local content development.”

Prof. Osinbajo said that the administration’s Niger Delta New Vision initiative has recorded some landmark achievements in the areas of education, environmental remediation, infrastructure and local content development, among others.

He added that “as part of the quest to expand economic opportunities in the region, this administration has promoted investments in modular refineries. The objective of this initiative is to address our present energy demands and empower the Niger Delta people through promoting local content.”

The Vice President stated that while there are several modular refineries at different stages of completion across the region, three have been completed including the Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR) Modular Refinery in Rivers State; OPAC Modular Refinery in Delta State, and Walter Smith Modular Refinery in Imo State.

He also noted the ongoing remediation exercise in Ogoni land, Rivers State, which was kick-started by the Buhari administration under the recommendations of UNEP.

According to the VP, “It is important to note that the Ogoni clean-up is the first of its kind in the history of the Niger Delta. Indeed, this is the first time the Federal Government is directly involved in remediation activities within the region.”

“We are equally committed to expanding infrastructure in the region, this includes the ongoing construction work on the 34-kilometers Bonny-Bodo Road/Bridge, which has been abandoned for decades. When completed, the project, which was flagged off in October 2017, would connect several major communities and boost socio-economic development in the region.

“The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line project, which was commissioned by Mr. President in September 2020, and has the capacity to handle both passengers and freight services, is connecting several communities and promoting commerce within the region.

“The Federal Government is also developing a number of deep sea ports across the region, including the Bonny, Warri, and Ibom Deep Sea Ports, among other development projects such as the establishment of Export Processing Zones to boost economic activities.

“In 2018, the National Universities Commission (NUC) approved the commencement of undergraduate degree programmes at the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, which happens to be situated in the great Gbaramatu Kingdom.”

The Vice President noted that “beyond its oil wealth, the Niger Delta region is incredibly blessed with diverse human capital across education, sports, technology, creative arts, entertainment, economy, and many other sectors.”

Speaking on the theme of the event, “The Dwindling State of Crude Oil Demand in the Global Market: The Way Forward”, the Vice President stated that factors such as the attendant decline in demand for our crude oil, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global energy demand and on government’s earning, the current situation, require creative and holistic approach to foster economic growth.

Noting that despite the fact that crude oil accounts for about 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, the VP stated that the Federal Government from inception had shown a commitment towards the creation of economic opportunities for Nigeria’s population in a post-oil future.

The Vice President highlighted initiatives being taken by the Federal Government to reposition Nigeria’s economy by taking advantage of global trends in the energy sector.

This includes the SolarPowerNaija Programme under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which will complement efforts towards providing affordable electricity access to 5 million households, serving about 25 million Nigerians in rural areas and under-served urban communities nationwide.

The VP also highlighted efforts by the Federal Government on energy transition from crude oil to natural gas, as well as its National Gas Expansion Programme, also a component under the ESP.

He said, “as part of our drive to encourage investments in gas production and optimize our nation’s enormous gas potential, the Federal Government declared the period of 2020-2030 as the decade of gas. To this end, last November, the Federal Government launched its National Gas Expansion Programme, which focuses on the distribution of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) across gas stations operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“By the end of this year, this administration will commence distribution of CNG as part of our strategy to gradually replace the high sulfur petrol. Our objective is two-fold. First, this is the administration’s effort at managing the necessary energy transition from crude oil to natural gas. We intend to increase our domestic gas supply to meet this demand by exploiting our abundant reserves of natural gas.

“Secondly, we are aiming to develop CNG into an alternative automobile fuel as a means of affording Nigerians cheaper, cleaner and additional fuel. In this way, we will reduce the ecological and economic costs of energy. The Gas Masterplan provides for investment in the necessary infrastructure for gas transportation across the nation. All of these will basically reduce our local crude oil dependency, whilst strengthening our drive for cleaner sources of energy as a nation. And crucially, it will create jobs in what will be a fast-expanding frontier of opportunity.”

In line with the Administration’s New Vision for the Niger Delta initiative to develop the region, the Vice President noted that the Federal Government has “also invested significantly in the Niger Delta as the region that holds the energy resources that have powered our progress for six decades as well as the keys to an emergent gas economy.”

The Vice President further noted that the Administration places top priority on peace and security in the region.

“In terms of addressing concerns around public safety and social security in the region, while ensuring peace and stability in the region, the administration has, among other things, sustained its commitment to the Presidential Amnesty Programme under which youths and ex-agitators are engaged in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment programmes that offer a pathway towards productive and dignified livelihoods,” he said.

Commending the publishers of Gbaramatu Voice Newspapers for organizing the event, the Vice President said the ‘cumulative effect of all these measures will have a positive transformational impact on the Niger Delta and on the future of our nation as a whole while ensuring sustainable peace and progress in the Niger Delta.

VC commends Buhari administration for making Maritime University a success story

*Says progress of University shows FG’s commitment towards developing Niger Delta & maritime sector

VC, Nigeria Maritime University, Prof. Etebu

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.

ICT facilities at Maritime University

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.

Maritime University students during a parade in the institution on Monday

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.

A lecture theatre at Maritime University

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.

VP Osinbajo hails collaboration as Caribbean University partners Maritime University, UNILAG

The academic partnership between Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) in Jamaica, and two Nigerian universities – University of Lagos and the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, in Delta State – would be mutually beneficial to each country’s human capital development, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this during a meeting on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, with representatives from the three universities; a delegation from the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) led by the President, CMU, Prof. Fritz Pinnock; and his Nigerian counterparts – the Vice Chancellor, Maritime University, Prof. Maureen Etebu; and the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

According to the Vice President, “The Maritime University is an important part of our journey of developing the Niger Delta, as it would tackle restiveness among youths by providing them with education and training, and so benefit them. So, the Maritime University is a win-win for Niger Delta and Nigeria.”

Prof. Osinbajo further said the partnership between the CMU and the two Nigerian universities (Maritime University and UNILAG) was coming at the right time to help develop the country’s human capital.

“Our relationship with Jamaica is a very important one for us and we must continue to explore the very many areas of collaboration to benefit us all. We are truly grateful for the hand of fellowship extended to us,” the VP added.

Also at the meeting was the Acting High Commissioner of Jamaica, Abuja, John Clarke; and a former governor of Bayelsa state, Timipre Sylva, who is the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of the Governing Council of Maritime University.

The Maritime University, which commenced full academic activities in April, is part of the Buhari administration’s Niger Delta New Vision aimed at developing the region.

Similarly, Prof. Etebu said the CMU has offered scholarships to two students of the Maritime University. ‘we are going to draw strength in terms of experience and exposure from the Carribean university,” she said. Also speaking, Prof. Ogundipe said UNILAG’s postgraduate programmes in Maritime Studies would gain from the collaboration with CMU to meet international standards.

It would be recalled that the Maritime University was granted approval in January this year by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to commence undergraduate degree programmes effective from the 2017/2018 academic session.

Also, the National Universities Commission (NUC) had approved that academic activities commence in three faculties namely; Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management, with a combined total of 13 departments with various specializations – from Marine Engineering, Marine Economics to Climate Change, Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The University commenced lectures in April this year following the admission of students into the university for the 2017/2018 academic year.