President Goodluck Jonathan has approved N2billion maritime training institute in Obuama community in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State for the training of ex-militants and other Nigerians.
The institute, which is expected to metamorphose into a Maritime University when completed, will mark the end of training of ex-militants in maritime related studies outside Nigeria.
The presidential adviser on the Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku disclosed this recently when he visited the Obu-Ama community to assess the site of the proposed maritime training institute which will commence operation within the next one year.
Accompanied by the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Asari Dokubo, Kuku explained that the presidential amnesty office has already defended the project before the National Assembly during deliberations on the 2014 appropriation budget.
He explained that the presidency decided to site the project in Obu-Ama as part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda and the need to bring development to the coastal communities.
Kuku said the construction of the maritime institute, which will admit some 500 ex-militants, will cost about N2 billion.
He said the project would include hostel facilities and staff quarters for teachers.
Kuku expressed optimism that the institute when completed will drive business activities, employment and empowerment in the community and its environ.
He said: “The project we are going to site here is called Maritime Training Institute. This project when completed is going to accommodate 500 students at a time. We are also going to have hostels that will accommodate 500 people and there will be staff quarters for those who are going to be lecturers there. Some of them are going to be your sons and daughters. We are going to train them to come and train the people in that school. We are going to send five of your sons outside this country to be trained as trainers in maritime studies. I foresee a situation where this institute will become a university or tertiary institution in time to come. We need to go to these native communities that are demanding development and one of such is this old community that was founded in 1882 by the late Tom Harry. Mr. President will be happy with what we are doing here today.”
Kuku said that the institute location in Obu-Ama was also in honour of Asari Dokubo who he described as one of those who brought the issue of underdevelopment and poverty in the Niger Delta to the fore of national and global discourse.
Asari Dokubo on his part commended the presidency for the institute, which he observed, will transform the community into a university town soon.
“This honour is not done to me, it is done for the community and everyone of us. This institution will metamorphose into university. Obu-Ama is going to be a university town very soon. Kingsley has trained two pilots from this community. They are going to be trained in the best maritime institutes in the world,” he said.