As part of efforts to translate its commitment to genuine corporate social responsibility into concrete reality, the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) has donated a fully equipped information and communication technology centre (ICT) to the Evan Enwerem University, Owerri, in the Imo State capital.
The ICT Centre gift to the former Imo State University is equipped with 50 flat screen desktop computers, a VSAT and branded server for internet connectivity, paid-up three-year subscription, and a dedicated 27KVA standby generator.
Speaking at the project commissioning ceremony in Owerri, last Friday, Managing Director of SNEPCo, Chike Onyejekwe, said the ICT Centre, which was completed in 2009, also has two printers, a dedicated water borehole, facility maintenance and lecturers’ training arrangements.
Onyejekwe noted that the centre, one of the four in different universities across the country, including Delta State University, University of Jos, and University of Ado Ekiti, costs the company about N60million, would boost ICT development and deployment in Nigerian education system, and enable students and lecturers to compete with their peers in the information age.
According to him, 11 secondary schools across the country have since 2007, benefited from the programme, including Ikeja Grammar School, Lagos State; Offa Grammar School, Kwara State; Imerienwen Girls Secondary School, Imo State; and Uwheru Grammar School, Delta State, stressing that the projects cost about N25million.
The first set of seven schools, he stated, were equipped with 10 units of desktop computers in 2007, while the second set of four schools, are now equipped with 20 units of desktop computers, each fitted with UPS, and others, including branded servers, two printers, a 27KVA generating set, teachers’ training and one-year maintenance arrangements, VSAT for internet connection, as well as three years paid-up subscription.
The SNEPCo managing director recalled the Geneva phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2003, and the pledge by stakeholders from over 175 countries, including Nigeria, to harness the potential of information and communication technology to promote the development goals of the Millennium Declaration, and emphasized that as a good corporate citizen of Nigeria, SNEPCo was leveraging on that commitment to build an inclusive and development-oriented information society through the construction and donation of the ICT centres.
He pointed out that by so doing, SNEPCo would be contributing to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, promote universal primary education, ensure environmental sustainability, and enhance the development of partnerships for the attainment of a more peaceful, just and prosperous world.
Also speaking, the Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Phillip Chukwu, said the project was part of the partners’ corporate social responsibility to host communities, and thanked the Imo State Government and the university community for providing the enabling environment for the facility to see the light of day.
The GED noted that the ICT centre was one of the major social investments of the NNPC/SNEPCo partnership in Imo, and charged the beneficiaries to put the facility to meaningful use as well as protect it from pilfering and vandalisation.
Responding, the Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim, lauded the NNPC and SNEPCo for constructing and donating a well-equipped ICT centre to the university, and pledged the determination of the government to assist the authorities of the institution in protecting the facility.
Represented at the event by the Commissioner for Education, Prof Jude Njoku, the governor assured that SNEPCo would not regret the huge investment in the university and its contribution to the development of education in Imo, and promised to create more windows of partnership with SNEPCo in future.
In his vote of thanks, the Vice Chancellor, Evan Enwerem University, Prof Ossy Nwebo, said students and lecturers at the university would now face the challenges of the new information age frontally through special competences acquired from the use of the facility.
The vice chancellor assured that apart from maintaining and protecting the centre, the university community would put every item installed in the facility to optimum use for the development of education in Imo in particular and Nigerian society in general.