Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has said the take-off of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Warri South-West Local Government Area of the state had brought peace to the Niger Delta region.
Okowa who stated this when the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh and his management team visited him at Government House, Asaba, pledged the support of the state government to the growth and development of the university.
He said the state government would partner NIMASA to develop the state's maritime potential and commended the management of the agency for reaching out to stakeholders in the littoral states in its determination to develop the maritime sector.
Okowa said: "I appreciate the effort of NIMASA in the establishment of the Maritime University in Okerenkoko. The school should be developed to international standards because of its uniqueness and for it to produce adequate manpower needed in the maritime sector.
"Indeed, the coming of the university gave birth to peace in the Niger Delta and we must appreciate NIMASA for its contribution.
"I am glad that a lot is being done by NIMASA particularly in Delta State and we will continue to appreciate it so that you will continue to do more.
"I am aware that we have been having issues with the ship repairs and building project and we will be happy to see this industry established to complement the university.
"We are aware that a lot of scholarships have been given to Deltans and I must register our appreciation to NIMASA."
He called for the opening up of the nation's ports because of their importance in economic development and job creation, saying "A well developed maritime business tends to address major challenges in the nation's economy.
"Attention has for long been given to crude oil exploration and exploitation thus neglecting gas which has both long and short term gains to any nation that has it as a natural resource.
"Maritime industry is very important to us as a nation and we can generate a lot of revenue from it, and it is my prayer that you will be able to get the much-needed support to develop the industry."
Earlier, Jamoh had said that he was in Delta as part of the stakeholders' sensitisation on the development of the maritime sector.
He said that NIMASA was determined to bring the littoral states as major stakeholders in the maritime industry, together for partnership.
He stated that Delta had benefited from three projects of the Agency in the last seven years and listed them as Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko; NIMASA Science and Technical College, Okoloba; proposed Ship Repairs Industry and educational scholarship to over 1,000 Deltans to study maritime-related studies.