The Federal Government has ordered immediate release of N2 billion for the commencement of academic activities in Maritime University, Okerenkoko, a coastal town in Delta State.
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who disclosed this while declaring the 2nd National Council on Niger Delta in Akure, the Ondo State capital said the university will take off by October this year.
The action of the government overrides the efforts made by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi to scrap the project.
Amaechi, a prominent indigene of Niger Delta had on assumption of office declared intention not only to stop work at the university but scrap it. He said his decision was hinged on irregularities in acquisition of land for the university, misappropriation of funds and corruption.
The decision put the Minister at loggerheads with prominent indigenes of the region including the governor of Delta State, Mr Ifeanyi Okowa. It also re-ignited violent agitation by the militants. The university was started by the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity Office of the Vice President had in a statement on Friday, said President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the university should resume before the end of the year.
The decision is in line with the demands championed by major stakeholders in the region, the presidency said.
According to the statement, the implementation would be coordinated by a 5-man inter-agency Committee headed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu.
Other members of the Committee will be drawn from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Universities Commission (NUC), NIMASA and Office of the Deputy Governor of Delta State.
The Committee, which is to collaborate with the current principal officers and the governing council of the institution, will finalize processes towards the opening of the university in the 2017/2018 academic session.
The re-opening of the university was one of the 16-point-agenda presented before President Muhammadu Buhari by leaders from Niger Delta as one of the requirements for peace in the region.
When Vice President Yemi Osibanjo visited the region on a fact finding mission early in the year, he promised that the university would be opened soon.
The presidency has also pledged to revive effort to establish Modular Refineries in the Niger Delta.
The criteria for issuing operating licenses are already in final stages of drafting and would be released soon, the presidency said.
It could be recalled that NIMASA currently spend about €1.5 million (over N500 million at current exchange rate) annually, in sponsoring Nigerian students to study maritime related courses in the Constanta Maritime University in Romania alone.
PIX: Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi and Maritime University, Okerenkoko