President Buhari orders opening of Maritime University

By Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

Prototype of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the resumption of activities towards the opening of the Nigerian Maritime University before the end of the year in line with the demands championed by major stakeholders in the region.

The directive is a further demonstration of the Niger Delta New vision of President Buhari, which has seen deliberate efforts by government to engage the people of the region.

A statement from the presidency says “the directive is coming as one of the several follow-up actions to the recent presidential level interactive engagements with the Niger Delta oil producing communities.’’

Five-man committee
A five-man inter-agency committee was set up to coordinate the prompt implementation of the directive on the re-opening of the Maritime University. The committee is headed by the Minister of education.

Other members of the Committee would come from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Universities Commission, NUC, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the  Office of the Deputy Governor of Delta State.

The Committee is to finalise the ongoing processes towards the opening of the Nigeria Maritime University in the 2017/2018 Academic Session.

It will work collaboratively with the current principal officers and the Governing Council of the institution.

Robust strategies
“President Buhari’s commitment to a new vision for the Niger Delta is further demonstrated with his efforts to evolve a number of robust strategies for key multi-sectoral outcomes and deliverables for the people of the oil-producing communities,’’
the presidency said in a statement.

Some of the strategies include; general guidelines issued by the Nigerian Government, reaffirming its commitment and outlining the objectives towards the establishment of Modular Refineries in the Niger Delta as well as the development of the technical criteria for issuing operating licenses. This is now in final stages of drafting and would be released soon.

Regional development challenges
According to the statement, “the government is also developing a roadmap for addressing regional development challenges, through an inter-agency working group, comprising Ministry of Niger Delta, Niger Delta Development Commission, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.”

The group is working in partnership with experts seconded by Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and key resource persons financed by a bi-lateral international development partner.

The roadmap will be based on the framework of the 16-point agenda developed by PANDEF.

“There is also a strategy for community-based participation in pipeline protection and policing, which would be validated with series of engagement processes, collaboratively with PANDEF, oil communities and other communities in the region that play host to the vast network of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta,” the Presidency stated.

Under the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Vice President had undertook visits to oil-producing states in the Niger Delta, during which series of town-hall meetings and consultations were held with a broad spectrum of stakeholders in a confidence building effort.

Mercy Chukwudiebere