By Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
The Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, in Delta State is an eloquent testimony to the unwavering commitment of the Buhari’s administration to changing the development narrative of the Niger Delta, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said at the first matriculation of the university at the weekend.
Osinbajo who was represented at the event at the university’s campus in Kurutie, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Economic Matters, Office of the Vice-President, Mr. Edobor Iyamu, described President Muhammadu Buhari as “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.”
Acting Governor of Delta State, Mr. Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, also said that the Maritime University was a fulfilment of a new dream for the Niger Delta, saying the state government would not relent in its support for the institution, including the establishment of the university Dockyard in Gbaramatu Kingdom.
While congratulating the students, management and staff of the institution, the vice-president said, “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.
“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.
“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.
“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,” he said.
“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.
Delta State Acting Governor, Otuaro said that Otuaro said the state government was concerned about the university Dockyard to be situated in Gbaramatu Kingdom, adding that a committee headed by him has been constituted to interface with the Federal Government and NIMASA towards government programmes that would ‘’be in the best interest of all critical stakeholders of the maritime university.’’
Earlier in her address, the Vice-Chancellor of the Nigerian Maritime University, Prof. Ongoebi Maureen Etebu, said that the university was ‘’a ship set to sail as the institution now boasts of three vibrant faculties’’, commending Buhari administration for providing the fertile environment for the actualisation of Nigeria’s first maritime university especially following the visit in 2017 by Osinbajo.