The Interim Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, has promised to raise shipbuilders in the Niger Delta to take advantage of the global opportunities in the maritime sector.
Akwa in a statement to mark the grand opening of Norfin Offshore Shipyard and launching of MV Norfin Swift in Ikot-Ukpong, Oruk Anam Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, said the commission was ready to create jobs for the youths.
Akwa, who was represented at the event by his Special Adviser on Youths, Udengs Eradiri, said the NDDC had developed a blueprint of turning the region into a hub of maritime activities to keep the youths busy.
As part of the plans, he said the commission would engage in training of Niger Delta youths in all maritime ventures including shipbuilding to raise the required local manpower to actualize the blueprint.
Eradiri said the first set of prospective shipbuilders would be sent to the newly inaugurated Norfin Offshore Shipyard for training in partnership with the firm.
He said: “You will agree with me that this shipyard is part of the development we need in the region to bring about economic growth which is why we must support and protect it as ours.
“As part of Barr. Effiong Akwa, the Sole Administrator’s core focus, which is on youth development and training, we will be sending youths to this shipyard for training in the different fields to avail them the opportunity of becoming professional shipbuilders to enable them get jobs in any part of the world.
“Let me use this opportunity to call on the governors of the Niger Delta states to collaborate and support the NDDC to drive development, expedite projects and build the capacity of the young people of the region to grow the Niger Delta of our dreams”.
Eradiri said the NDDC under Akwa would focus on developing the region from the areas of education, agriculture and capacity building.
He said: “This administration’s core mandate is to ensure effective training and skills development programmes aimed at the youths of the oil-rich Niger Delta regions as an antidote to curb hostilities and militancy and in the same vein develop key infrastructure to promote diversification and productivity.
“We will be partnering with universities and colleges to upgrade their facilities to meet worldclass standards to train youths in the oil and gas sector. This would prepare them for projects and job opportunities in areas that are currently in need of these skill manpower.
“To be very clear, we are keen to focus on skills that can fit into the roles that have been given to foreign nationals. In the area of agriculture, we have started rolling out training programmes in fisheries, rice farming, palm oil processing, food processing, birds, pigs farming to empower our youths and increase the food production in our fast-increasing population.
“Large scale commercial farming is necessary to build our region and grow our economy. As part of our capacity building, we are partnering with local institutions to train our young people to be fully equipped for major projects that are coming in the Niger Delta like the NLNG train 7 project, the deep sea project in Akwa-Ibom, Brass fertilizer project, upcoming modular refinery projects and projects in the power sector”.