New maritime varsity will save Nigeria foreign exchange on scholarships ‎- NIMASA boss

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ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The newly approved Maritime University,‎ Okerenkoko, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, will save Nigeria billions of dollars spent on scholarships of  studying abroad, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi‎, has revealed.

Also, he said ‎Nigeria would soon join league of countries like the Philippines, which currently generates about $6 billion annually exporting Seafarers‎, as it prepares to export Seafarers to other countries.
The university is expected to run courses in marine engineering, naval architecture, nautical , transport technology and other maritime related professional areas at degree and sub degree levels.

Following the licence issued by the Federal Government, the university is now set to commence academic activities at its fully developed temporary site in Kurutie, also in Warri-South West LocalGovernment Area.

Fielding questions on the benefit of the newly approved‎ Maritime University, on Nigeria’s maritime sector and employment generation, Akpobolokemi‎, who said that not less than 2,500 Nigerians were been trained on the Federal Government’s scholarship scheme abroad and are currently undergoing training in different fields all over the world as part of government efforts to boost the nation’s Seafarers capacity.
“This is unprecedented in the history of this country. No government in this nation has been able to achieve this feet.

“I promise that in a couple of years, Nigeria should be able to export Seafarers to other countries all over the world” he said.

The NIMASA boss said the construction of the university’s infrastructure has commenced and when completed it would be the best, comparable to others in the world.

The university which is first of its kind in the country, is an initiative of NIMASA and will soon commence academic activities.
“This formal approval of the licence will signify a major milestone in the agency’s capacity building initiatives as it will guarantee sustainable training of qualified manpower for the maritime industry at international standard”.

Akpobolokemi‎ added, “The essence of that school is to bridge the gap between the lower level and upper level so that we will use that as a feeder to the Maritime University so that people do not just come without requisite technical knowledges in both Science and technology related fields into the new university”.

He said with the university, the NIMASA management, would remain committed and focused in building human capacity for the Nigerian maritime sector through strengthening the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), a scholarship programme designed to young Nigerians in various maritime professions at degree level.
“‎The Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme‎ (NSDP) has over 2,500
beneficiaries in academic institutions in Egypt, India, Philippines, Romania and the United Kingdom; a number of whom have since graduated”, he said.
He listed one of NIMASA laudable projects, a Science and Technical College which had been on a temporary site established to provide supporting students for the University.

According to him, the institution which is expected to move to its site later
this year, also has one of the best infrastructural facilities.

He also disclosed that NIMASA is also constructing a shipyard which it will jointly manage with the private sector.

“The fabrication work for the dock and other issues are ongoing and when completed this should be able to create jobs opportunities as
Nigeria should be able to produce vessels and we would partner with the private sector to ensure that the shipyard becomes a viable project.”

Akpobolokemi recalled that the groundbreaking ceremony of the institution, as well
as the NIMASA Shipyard and Dockyard in Okerenkoko, was conducted by in May, 2014.

He said since he came on board as director-general, NIMASA has also established Institutes of Maritime Studies in six Nigerian universities, including University of Lagos, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai Niger State, Niger Delta University, Amasoma, Bayelsa State, Anambra State University, Uli and Federal Univerity Kashere, Gombe State.

He also disclosed that NIMASA has established its own satellite system that works for 24 hours as part of development of domain awareness.

“This captures any vessel entering or doing any business anywhere on our shores. Gone are those days when people do things without our notice. The radar system is on ground and this is being installed”

“Today as we speak, we have been able to establish the ISPS code to a large extent, but this does not means that we should fold our hands, it is a continuous process” he said adding that the training and Scholarship Programme is ongoing”.