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Dakuku confident Maritime University will fulfill major economic dream for Nigeria


The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside,
at the weekend, expressed confidence that
establishing t
he Nigeria Maritime
University (NMU), Okerenkoko, marks the launch of an institution of critical
importance to the economic development of the country.

Dakuku stated this during the maiden
matriculation of the university,
which held at its takeoff site at Kurutie, in
Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta State.

He said the school fulfilled for Nigeria a
major economic dream of having an institution that would produce high-end
manpower for its growing maritime industry, while helping to develop the locals
and build lasting peace in the Niger Delta.

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo,
said the project was another demonstration of Niger Delta’s strategic
importance to Nigeria. Osinbajo said it also showed how the Federal Government
was “walking the talk in the Niger Delta.”

Dakuku said, “This is the fulfillment of a
dream. Recall that many years ago, precisely in 2013, NIMASA initiated the idea
of a Nigerian maritime university to fill a gap. We identified that if you want
to grow your maritime industry, there are three important elements.

One, is the asset, the vessel itself; the second one is the human
capacity; the third is the supporting infrastructure. For all these three, the
most important is the human element. And we clearly identified that fact that
we are lagging behind in the human element and we needed to build capacity.

“To build high-end capacity, we need our own
maritime university. We were among the leading maritime nations without a
maritime university. So today is the fulfillment of that great dream.”

Dakuku commended the Federal Government’s
financial commitments to the university, but said more needed to be done. “We
appreciate the grant by the Federal Government to support the numerous grants
given by NIMASA, acting also on behalf of the Federal Government.

But, without a doubt, we need to put more money here because we need a
lot of infrastructure apart from the human resource. We have a good number of
professors. We need to put a lot of infrastructure in place,” he stated.

He explained that NIMASA would intensify
engagements with the Budget Office, Office of the Vice President, and other
stakeholders on how to collaboratively fund the NMU.

The DG added, “We are gradually repositioning this country to become a major hub for
maritime activities
. And when we say major hub for maritime activities,
it is not just about trans-shipment or about shipment itself.

It could be a hub just supplying manpower, supplying seafarers, doing
insurance business or being in the business of ship finance. We are gradually
becoming a hub, we are putting the right building blocks in place to make this
country a hub for maritime activities and we would reap the benefits in a few
years’ time.”

The Vice President, who was represented by
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Edobor
Iyamu, said the commencement of academic activities at the premier maritime
university in Nigeria was another example of how the President Muhammadu Buhari
government was “walking the talk in the Niger Delta region, which is not being
viewed 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 on the development of the human capital. We are confident that
the Niger Delta, sooner than later, would come to be defined not by crude oil,
but by the quantum of its human resource.”

In his own remarks, the Pro-Chancellor of the
University and Chairman, Governing Council, Chief Timipre Sylva, commended
NIMASA’s vision and support for the university, saying the institution has
demonstrated capacity to play a key role in the global maritime industry.

Sylva said, “NMU had shown great capacity for rapid growth and development, a defining
characteristic of upward mobile organisations the world over.” He added, “We
are fully persuaded that it is only a matter of time before this premier
maritime university in Nigeria will play significant national, regional and
global roles.”

The Vice Chancellor of NMU, Professor Ongoebi
Maureen Etebu, disclosed that the Federal Government had fully implemented the
N3.4 billion takeoff grant for NMU in 2018 budget.

Etebu, who appreciated NIMASA for initiating and encouraging the university, and
the DG, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, 
added, “A maritime university
is of strategic importance to the socio-economic growth of this country.

Considering the enormous waterways of Nigeria, and the geographic,
economic and security importance attached to these waterways, it is a wonder
that our country waited for 58 years before birthing this institution.”

NMU, which is solely owned by the Federal
Government, started academic activities in April 2017. Last Saturday’s
matriculation ceremony was a combined exercise for the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019

Among dignitaries that attended the
matriculation ceremony were Acting Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley
Otuaro; senator for Delta South, Senator James Manager; House of
Representatives member for Eseodo/Ilaje Federal Constituency, Ondo State, Hon.
Akinjo Kolade Victor; House of Representatives member, Burutu Federal
Constituency, Delta State, Hon. Julius Gbabojor Pondi; representative of the
National Universities Commission (NUC); and traditional rulers from Gbaramatu

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