Delta canvasses support for maritime varsity, council holds inaugural meeting
DELTA State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa has pledged to partner Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in the development of Nigeria Maritime University (NMU).
Meanwhile, all is now set for the university, located in Okerenkoko, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State to commence academic activities in September, this year, for the 2015/2016 academic sessions.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof (Mrs) Maureen Etebu, who briefed stakeholders including representatives of the host community, council members, among others at the weekend in Okerenkoko, explained that the institution has met all criteria for its to start operations.
Receiving top management staff of NIMASA who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Asaba, Okowa lauded the initiative and location of the institution.
He said:“I want to assure you that the state government will partner with you (NIMASA) in ensuring the rapid development of the university”.
He also used the opportunity to appeal to youths and leaders of the host community to support the project.
“We have been so used to conventional universities. We need to ensure that we actually bring in practical training for our children so that we can make them employable and sometimes self dependent”
He added: “We cannot afford to allow our coastal and inland waterways resources in this country to waste. The earlier we put it into use the better for us and I hope this is a very good opportunity to call for the dredging of escavos so that we can attract bigger ships in Delta State”
Okowa emphasised the need for parent to redirect the orientation of their children about the benefit attached to such specialised institutions in manpower development.
Speaking at Okerenkoko, the Vice-Chancellor explained that before the September takeoff date, some ongoing infrastructure would be completed coupled with employment of more academic and non-academic staff.
She described the University as a dream comes through, adding that the federal government should be commended for supporting the initiative.
The Vice-Chancellor assured the community and other stakeholders of rapid development, pointing out that the institution in no distance time will contribute substantially to the manpower needs in the maritime sector.
The Pro-Chancellor, Prof (Mrs.) Viola Onwuliri, who spoke in a similar vein, commended community leaders for supporting the project.
Onwuliri, the immediate past minister of State for foreign affairs and the supervising minster of education pledged her commitment and that of the council to the rapid development of the institution expected to boost capacity building in the maritime sector within and outside the country.
The council of the University met at the weekend in Okerenkoko for its inaugural meeting after inspecting available facilities and ongoing projects.
Members of the council are Prof Onwuliri, Prof Etebu, Fayemi Ebenezer, Leke Oyewole, Hassan Bakare, Adedeji Doherty, Nath Anho and Mohammed Sanni Umar.
Delta State Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro, who was present at the ceremony at Okerenkoko reiterated that the state government is poised on laying emphasis on technical education, “This is what the Nigeria Maritime University is all about”.
He said: “We will support the growth of the university. By doing so, we are enhancing our smart agenda”.
The Deputy Governor commended the federal government for initiating the university project through NIMASA.
Director General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, who went down memory lane, thanked the community for creating the necessary atmosphere for the project to take-off.
He explained that the dockyard was brought close to the University because of the role technical training has to play in maritime education.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had recently given an approval to the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU) to commence academic activities.
The university is expected to run courses in Marine Engineering, Naval Architecture, Nautical Science, Transport Technology, and other maritime related professional courses.
Apart from the Nigeria Maritime University initiative, NIMASA recently reiterated its commitment in building human capacity for the Nigerian maritime sector through strengthening the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), a scholarship programme designed to train young Nigerians in various maritime professions at degree level.
According to NIMASA, NSDP has over 2,500 beneficiaries in academic institutions in Egypt, India, Philippines, Romania and the United Kingdom, adding that a number of them have graduated.
Also, the agency has established Institutes of Maritime Studies in six Nigerian universities, including University of Lagos, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State, Niger Delta University Amasoma, Bayelsa State, Anambra State University Uli and Federal University Kashere, Gombe State.
Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, performed the groundbreaking ceremony of the university and the NIMASA Shipyard in May 2014.
Akpobolokemi said NIMASA has acquired all necessary structure for the university’s successful takeoff. “We (NIMASA) have acquired the temporary site. Construction work have either been completed or near completion”.
He explained that Nigeria stands to gain from the new University, pointing out that it would save Nigeria billions on dollars in foreign exchange as the country would no longer send her citizens abroad for training in maritime-related education.
According to him, the new University is also intended to supply seafarers to needy nations across the globe.
He added: “With the University, We are going to sell expertise and research outcomes.
Students are going to come from all over the world for studies. We are going to develop the maritime sector in terms of equipment.