The Bayelsa State Government last Friday in Abuja sailed closer towards actualising its dreams of establishing a world-class maritime academy in the littoral state when it signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with a Polish maritime company, Navimor International.
An document outlining an agreement between two or more parties before the agreement is finalised, an LOI is similar to a written contract but it is usually not binding on the parties in their entirety.
While Bayelsa Deputy Governor John Jonah signed on behalf of his state, Navimor Chairman Romuald Kinda signed for his company at a Polish-Nigerian business and investment forum held in Abuja.
Jonah told journalists that the agreement was aimed at establishing a world-class academy that would drive local manpower development in Nigeria’s maritime industry.
The choice of Poland, according to him, was informed by that country’s high standing in the maritime education sector.
“The maritime industry is an international one. We want to affiliate with the well-established and well-recognised maritime academy in Poland. This is to ensure that whatever we do would be in line with the standard they have established in their country,” he said.
He explained that the partnership would translate into a transfer of knowledge, maritime technology and financial assistance from Poland to Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Navimor Chairman said that, while modalities on the final agreement were still being worked out, the project would take off in the next 18 months.
Kinda, who said that his company runs the 80-year-old Polish maritime academy, assured that the firm has the expertise to help Bayelsa build a world-class maritime institution.
He said: “We will jointly build an international standard maritime school in Bayelsa that would ensure the transfer of knowledge, infrastructure and technology which we have in Poland. In this very moment, we have an academy in Gdyni where over 40 cadets from Rivers State in Nigeria have just been educated. The ambition of the Bayelsa State Government is to build its own maritime academy and system of education. I would like to say the Deputy Governor visited our academy in Poland and,, who of course, he likes the system which we created over 100 years; our academy is over 80 years old. So, we have the experience and the know-how. Education is the future of Nigeria and we are determined to help in it.”
Dignitaries at the forum included Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk; Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investmen Olusegun Aganga, and entrepreneurs from both countries.