The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has pledged to assist the Niger Delta University, Amassoma, Bayelsa State, in its quest for an enhanced educational environment for its students.
Speaking at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, during a courtesy visit by a delegation from the university, the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Efiong Akwa, assured that the Commission would immediately provide a 1,000KVA power generating set and a 23-seater bus for the university.
On the university’s request for the construction of a student’s hostel, the NDDC boss said that it would be included in the Commission’s 2022 budget, stating: “We will award a new contract for the students’ hostel project because the previous hostel was sited in a water-logged environment.”
Akwa stated that the NDDC was committed to building capacity in Nigerian universities, noting that the Commission was making plans to run its post graduate scholarship programme in universities in the Niger Delta region.
The Interim Administrator said that the previous system where the Commission sponsored students on foreign scholarships for post graduate studies was not sustainable, adding that it was better to train the students in universities in the Niger Delta region. “Our inspection teams will be visiting your universities to inspect your facilities,” he said.
Akwa said the NDDC would soon complete the 1,000-bed students’ hostel being built by the Commission at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. According to him, “the hostel will be a first of its kind in the region.”
He stated that the NDDC had built and handed over seven completed prototype hostels to the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, the University of Benin, Imo State University, Federal University of Science and Technology, Owerri. Delta State University, Abraka, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, and the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike in Abia State.
Commenting on the NDDC Forensic Audit, Akwa revealed that the final report of the Forensic Audit was ready and would be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari shortly. “The Forensic Audit of the NDDC is ready and will be presented to President Buhari. In fact it achieved a lot and it wasn’t a witch-hunt.”
Leading the visiting delegation from the Niger Delta University, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Samuel Edoumiekumo, commended the efforts of the NDDC in building the capacity of universities in the Niger Delta region.
He, however, noted that the university needed more projects to expand its capacity. For instance, he said: “We have a student population of 20,000 but we can only accommodate 2,500 and this creates a challenge for our quest to provide a conducive learning environment.”
He regretted that the hostel project for the university awarded by the NDDC in 2007 was abandoned.
The Vice Chancellor also sought NDDC’s assistance in the provision of power generating sets, construction of students’ hostels and school buses for the university.
He acknowledged the presence of some NDDC projects in the university but noted that they were not enough to make sufficient impact. He said: “We are happy that NDDC is building a 2-kilometre rigid pavement road in the university. However, we still have a lot of needs in the area of electricity.”