NDDC NEGLECTS AKWA IBOM, EXECUTES MORE ROADS IN IMO STATE
Despite complaints by Akwa Ibom people over the failure of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to complete any of its promised projects in tetiary institutions in the state, the agency
has completed two road intervention projects at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Imo State, in the last one year.
The road promised by the intervention agency at the University of Uyo two years ago had since been abandoned while the access road to the General Hospital at Ukpum Abak has also been left in tatters.
These two projects were announced by the government of Akwa Ibom before the NDDC mobilized its contractors to the sites, prompting the state government to withdraw from projects.
The shabby treatment of Akwa Ibom by NDDC has prompted people speculating that the state is being punished by the APC led federal government despite its status as the largest oil producer in the state.
The Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, who disclosed the new projects in FUTO on Saturday during the 30th convocation ceremony of the university, said the two separate projects were executed to enhance a conducive learning environment in the nation’s pioneer university of technology.
Ekere was honoured with an honorary doctorate degree in Management Technology by the university alongside two other awardees, Chief Tony Ezenna, the Chief Executive Officer of Orange Drugs Limited, and Engr. Andrew Ejayeriese, the General Manager, Exploration, of Esso Exploration Production Limited.
He announced the award of NDDC’s postgraduate scholarship to the best graduating student of the university this year, Ms. Jane Ijeaku Adim, anywhere in the world, in appreciation of excellence.
Ekere also announced that the commission was ready to donate another auditorium to the university or undertake any project chosen by the institution’s management.
He explained that the NDDC was investing in education and supporting FUTO and other educational institutions in the Niger Delta region because of its belief in education as a tool to fight militancy, cultism and unemployment in the region.
The NDDC boss, who spoke on behalf of other awardees, stated that the honour would encourage them to continue to dedicate their lives to excellence and professionalism and to serve humanity and uphold the dignity of man.
The Visitor to the university, President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwuka, lauded the university’s strides in research activities and exhibitions, infrastructural development, agricultural revolution, staff welfare and students’ welfare matters.
He ordered the host community of the university to immediately return the land it grabbed from the institution, admonishing host communities of universities to regard the siting of such institutions in their communities as a blessing and to refrain from land encroachment.
The Pro-Chancellor of the university, Prof. John Offem, stated with delight that FUTO, as the first and premier university of technology in Nigeria, has pioneered a distinct academic programme orientation which has produced generations of well-rounded and job-creating graduates and entrepreneurs.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Francis Eze, disclosed that 41 of the 45 academic programmes in the university have been fully accredited by the National Universities Commission with another two having interim accreditation status and the remaining two awaiting resource verification.
The ceremony was witnessed by a host of personalities including Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Prof. Edna Njoku, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Dr. Anthony Obinna, Vice-Chancellors and representatives of other universities and institutions of higher learning, federal and state legislators, captains of industry and traditional rulers.
Also at the event were the immediate past Pro-Chancellor of the University of Jos, Atuekong Don Etiebet, and federal appointees from Akwa Ibom State including the Board Chairman of Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, Abom Tony Esu, his Nigerian Geological Survey Agency counterpart, Barr. Emah Bassey, the Commissioner representing Akwa Ibom State in the National Population Commission, Engr. Ben Ukpong, and a Board Member of Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Ntufam Akan Okon.
Other dignitaries from the state that attended the ceremony included the State Chairman of All Progressives’ Congress (APC), Dr. Amadu Atai, Senator Etang Umoyo, Senator Aloysius Etok, Otuekong Sunny Jackson Udoh, Prof. Etok Ekanem, Dr. Emaeyak Ukpong, Dr. Esio Oquong Udoh, Obonganwan Dora Ebong, Pastor Udo Isaiah, Mr. Uwem Udoma, Mr. Edwin Joseph, Mr. Nse Willie, Otuekong Uyo Nathaniel, Mr. Anietie Ufot, Engr. Akanimo Edet, Mr. Uduyok Aboh, Mr. Ini Okopido, Dr. Nduehe Esitikott, Prince Enobong Ufot, Surveyor Ufot Udoinyang, Mr. Solomon Etim, Otuekong Ekerete Ekpenyong, Mr. Michael Etim, Prince Iboro Ekpo and Engr. Uko Ekpe.