By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that the contentious Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta state, should take-off in October.
The establishment of the university is one of the demands of Niger Delta militants to embrace peace.
Governor Ifanyi Okowa of Delta told State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa on Friday in Abuja that the university was on course.
According to him, a committee headed by the Minister of Education in which Delta State Deputy Governor is a member has been inaugurated to ensure the smooth take-off of the university.
“We are also aware that a committee has been set up led by the Minister of Education; my deputy is part of the committee to work out the processes to enable the maritime university take off in October.
“It is a step in the right direction. So, I came to appreciate government and to discuss some other issues with,’’ he added.
Okowa commended Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who he said ensured peace in Delta in particular.
“If you notice, in the past few months, there has been peace in Delta state. So, I wanted to appreciate his visit to Delta state because that definitely helped us in the peace process.
“And just yesterday, the bill for the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, passed third reading at the Senate. That is definitely a very strong plus for us.’’
He also commended federal government on the modular refineries initiative and emphasised the prospects of revenue earnings from the facilities in Niger Delta.
The governor expressed the hope that such refineries would complement regular refineries in the country.
The Federal Government had given its nod for the Gbaramatu Modular Refineries (GMR).
However, policies and regulatory frameworks that would ensure a friendly environment for the operations of all the refineries are being considered by the government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that there are indications that government is projecting at least 20,000 barrels per day production capacity from the first modular refinery that would be licensed to operate.
Okowa said a committee comprising Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, some management staff of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, and Deputy Governor of Delta, were drawing up blueprint for the modular refineries.
“I think the processes are being put in place. President Buhari talks a lot about it and I believe the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the NNPC management have been working in that direction.
“Modular refineries are not something that you can just bring up all in one day or in one month.
“I believe that the processes are being put in place to ensure that we have some of them in some of our communities in the creeks in the Niger Delta.’’
President Buhari had appointed Osinbajo as an emissary to prospect for peace in Niger Delta.