President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that the Nigerian Maritime University, Delta State, be opened for activities before the end of the year “is in line with the demands championed by major stakeholders” in the Niger Delta region of the country, the presidency has said.
The directive comes a day after the Nigeria Senate passed a bill to give legal backing to the school, three years after its foundation was laid by the former president Goodluck Jonathan.
The decision to open the new university followed recent engagements Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had with Niger Delta leaders on behalf of the federal government.
The presidency, Thursday, described the development as “a clear effort to further the Niger Delta New Vision policy of the Buhari administration.”
A statement issued by Laolu Akande, the spokesperson of the vice president, said a five-man inter-agency Committee to be headed by the Minister of Education, will see to the implementation of the president’s directive.
Other members of the committee will be picked 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 finalize the ongoing processes towards the opening of the Nigeria Maritime University in the 2017/2018 Academic Session. The Committee will work collaboratively with the current Principal Officers and the Governing Council of the institution,” Mr. Akande said in the statement.
Mr. Akande said that the federal government was at the final stage of developing technical criteria for the issuance of operating licenses for the establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta, in addition to having a roadmap that would address the development challenges in the region.
“A roadmap for addressing regional development challenges is being developed by an inter-agency working group comprising of Ministry of Niger Delta, Niger Delta Development Commission, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
“This 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.”
The statement added that “A strategy for community-based participation in pipeline protection and policing is underway and will 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.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Osinbajo is scheduled to visit Cross River and Ondo States to conclude the fact-finding tour to the Niger Delta, the statement said.