Delta Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, on Thursday called on the Federal Government to develop the permanent site of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko in Warri South-West Local Government Area of the state.
Okowa made the call while playing host to the Chairman and members of Governing Council of the university who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Asaba.
According to him, the call had become necessary as it would go a long way in putting the university on a sound footing that would ultimately enable it to deliver on its core mandate of imparting sound maritime-related education to its students.
The governor disclosed that he was happy that the institution took off academic activities at the temporary site but urged the federal government to make resources available for the construction of buildings and provision of amenities that would enhance academic activities in the university.
He said that his administration would do everything humanly possible to make the institution stand out, emphasising that the birth of the special educational institution for the training of manpower in the maritime sector has strengthened peace and the economy of riverine communities.
Okowa, therefore, advocated the need for more projects to be sited in riverine areas because of the inputs of riverine areas to the economy of the nation, stressing that the giant strides of his administration in the creeks and other riverine communities were to give them (residents in the areas) a sense of belonging by carrying them along in the scheme of things.
On the various requests made by the Governing Council of the university, the governor said that they would be looked into to address some of them within the limit of available resources.
“We thank God that the Maritime University has started even when we have challenges because we do know that the take-off of the university brought good news to our people and helped us to build peace, particularly in our riverine areas.
“So, we are very glad; we do understand the challenges that still exist and we hope that working together, we can continue to find ways to surmount the challenges.
“I have taken note of various requests made but before then, we appreciate your very kind words concerning the things the state government has been able to do thus far.
“Yes, we do it because we believe that the establishment of that university is in the best interest of the people and that it will also help grow, to a large extent, the economy and the education in the communities that are within the riverine areas.
“Many times in the planning that we do in this country and even in the state, we tend to put everything in the upland ignoring the fact that there are people who exist in the riverine areas.
“We do know that the riverine areas contribute a lot towards the growth of the economy of our nation because many oil facilities do exist in these areas.
“So, we want to make a promise that we will continue to do the best that we can. I have noted, during your comment concerning the grant that was promised, we will try to follow through.
“I think it truly escaped my mind because I do know that we have met with other things but that grant of N100 million is a promise made. So, we will try to quickly see what we can do to fulfil the promise,” the governor said.
Earlier, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Dr Elias Courson commended Governor Okowa for his inspiring and magnanimous support towards the take-off and continued development of the university.
Dr Courson disclosed that it had become practically impossible to merely gloss over the pivotal roles played by the Senator Okowa led administration that sign-post the existence of the university in two broad areas of infrastructure intervention and upgrade as well as policy and advocacy.
He applauded the governor for establishing three additional universities in the state, which according to him, will provide additional access to quality education not only to Deltans but to Nigerians in general, even as he prayed the governor to lend his voice to the university’s renewed agitation for NIMASA to relocate the floating Dockyard to Okerenkoko.
The Pro-Chancellor appealed to the governor to assist the university in completing the ongoing renovation/remodelling of the classroom block, construction of additional staff quarters and providing a portable water scheme all at the Okerenkoko Campus of the university.