August 9, 2022

How Maritime University brought peace, stability to Niger Delta-Gov Okowa

…As NIMASA woos coastal states to develop blue economy

From Business Transport

Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa (right); DG NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh (left); and Executive  Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, NIMASA, Victor Ochei, during a courtesy visit to Okowa by NIMASA’s Executive Management team at Government House, Asaba recently.

Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has explained how the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University NMU, Okerenkoko in the state ended a period of fierce agitation for economic justice.

Just as he stated that the University has brought about peace, reconciliation and stability in the once crisis-ridden region.

Similarly, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is currently reaching out to coastal states in the country in order to partner in seeking ways to develop the country’s rich but grossly untapped Blue Economic potential

The governor stated this in Asaba during a courtesy visit by the executive management of NIMASA led by its Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh.   

The management team was in the state as part of a sensitisation drive to get the buy-in of the coastal states in the current attempt to develop maritime as the pivot of the country’s economic diversification effort.

Okowa said the maritime university located at Okerenkoko, in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta State, which was established in 2017, with the active support of NIMASA, had a stabilising effect on the people.

“Indeed, the coming of the university gave birth to peace in the Niger Delta and we must appreciate NIMASA for its contribution,” Okowa stated. “I am glad that a lot is being done by NIMASA, particularly in Delta State, and we will continue to appreciate it so that you will continue to do more,” he added.

The governor pledged to cooperate with the maritime regulatory agency in the building of a virile blue economy in the country, with a strong maritime business base in the state.

“I am aware that we have been having issues with the ship repairs and building project and we will be happy to see this industry established to complement the university.

“We are aware that a lot of scholarships have been given to Delta citizens and I must register our appreciation to NIMASA.”  

The Director-General stated that it was his sincere pleasure to be with the governor and some members of his cabinet as part of the maritime stakeholders’ sensitisation in terms of the development of the maritime.

“We felt there should be a moral and political buy-in from everyone in the littoral states. The participation and support of the governments and people of the Niger Delta are key factors in the successful development of a robust blue economy in the country. 

“The maritime industry is a huge treasure trove of development opportunities. The sector can fetch us even much more than oil, as recent studies by experts, including the World Bank, have shown.

“As an agency of the Federal Government, and the maritime regulatory body of the country, we should be in the vanguard of this new move to get our critical stakeholders on board as we strive to wean Nigeria off oil dependence”, he said.

Jamoh stated that in the last seven years, the agency had sited three major maritime projects in Delta State. They include the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, the country’s first maritime university; the NIMASA Science and Technical College, Okoloba; and a proposed shipyard for ship repairs.

It was gathered that more than a thousand Delta State indigenes had benefited from the agency’s overseas scholarship scheme to study marine-related courses.

The DG called for more participation from the government and people of Delta State in the harnessing of the enormous maritime potential of the region. “Opportunities for profitable investment abound in shipbuilding, ship repairs, ship recycling, and shipping,” he said.

Jamoh was accompanied on the visit by the three Executive Directors: Victor Ochei (Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services), Shehu Ahmed (Operations), and Hon. Chudi Offodile (Finance and Administration). Special Assistant to the DG on Communications and Strategy, Mr. Ubong Essien, was among the team.