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RSUST Back On Track -VC …Amaechi Pledges Better Welfare For Varsity

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Barely five years after the Vice Chancellor of Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Prof Barineme Fakae had embarked on an audacious mission to rescue the university from near extinction, Fakae says  the institution has again bounced back on the track of academic excellence.

Making the declaration at the 24th convocation ceremony of the university over the weekend in Port Harcourt, the VC in his address entitled ‘RSUST: Back on Track”, said time was when the  university, “out of 39 programmes, had only 8 fully accredited but today, I am glad to inform you that all the programmes of the university presented to National University Commission are presently fully accredited.” He added that two programmes, architecture and land surveying that suffered loss in 2005 would be attended to by the NUC accreditation team billed to visit RSUST on 28th of this month, and expressed optimism that the two programmes would record 100% accreditation.

Fakae also noted that out of 122 universities currently operating in the country, only 27 were qualified to be visited for institutional accreditation, and that RSUST was one of those qualified.

“Today, I am particularly glad to announce that the results just received show that following the institutional accreditation visit in December, 2011, this university has now been institutionally accredited and rated A in its category to operate for the next five years, after which it will be due for another visitation,” Fakae noted.

The RSUST VC remarked that in his administration’s quest to position the institution as a world class standard, infrastructural development, staff welfare, students’ matters, sports development and information and communication technology have received deserved attention, and commended the university’s visitor and Governor of Rivers State, Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi for his tremendous support and encouragement without which the long list of projects carried out could not have been possible.

He, therefore, appealed for Amaechi’s continuous support to the institution to enable it complete the moot court project in the Faculty of Law to enable it escape the hangman’s rope of the council  for legal education.

“The moot court is a special requirement for the next accreditation of our law programme. The status of this programme will be at risk if nothing is done about this building when the present accreditation expires in 2013, he said.

The VC appealed to ASUU, SSANU, NASU and NAAT branches of RSUST to embrace dialogue and exhaust all avenues for peaceful resolution to conflicts before contemplating and embarking on strike.  According to him, it was when there is industrial harmony that the university would be able to keep to the calendar of its academic programmes that would enble lectures, research and staff promotion to go on uninterrupted.

Earlier in his address, Pro-Chancellor and chairman of the university’s Governing Council,  Justice Adophus Karibi-Whyte had commended the graduands, pointing out that it takes commitment, dedication and hard work to be acknowledged as worthy in character and learning, He charged them to good ambassadors of the university as well as maintain continuous link with their alma mater.

Highpoint of the event was the granting of the VC’s request by Governor Amaechi to recruit staff to further strengthen the university’s workforce.

The VC had lamented the frustration in the system bottleneck that hindered the institution from employing needed staff to man critical areas, noting that the situation had become precarious as the department of medical laboratory science is at the verge of losing its professional accreditation as a result of paucity of personnel, especially teaching staff.

A total of 3,541 graduands received certificates, postgraduate diploma and higher degrees in various specialization.

Of the figure, 3,219 got first degrees, 85 postgraduate diplomas, 215 master and 22 doctorate degrees. Three graduates made the prestigious first class .

Meanwhile,  Governor Chibuike Amaechi has pledged government resolve for better working conditions and manpower in the State-owned University of Science and Technology(RSUST).

Governor Amaechi made the pledge at the 24th Convocation ceremony of the university in Port Harcourt on Saturday.

Overwhelmed with the academic achievements of RSUST, Amaechi urged the  Vice Chancellor of the university and management to sit with ASUU and negotiate a new condition of service, which includes determination of staff who do not live up to their expectation.

‘I will also implore the university to employ new academic staff. There is no university if there are no teachers’’, he stated.

He approved the completion of the moot court building of the Faculty of Law as it would enhance the quality of graduates from the department.

Amaechi, however advised management of the institution to devoid itself from politics “I don’t approve of the signboards I see around the campus comparing what is in the past to the present. Whatever achievements we have made we congratulate the Vice Chancellor for those achievements and let it remain as achievements,’’ he said.

The governor commended the industry and commitment of the Governing Council and the Vice Chancellor for overhauling the institution and being able to break the jinx of non-accreditation and clearing the backlog of students who were unable to graduate over the years.

Amaechi congratulated the graduands, and urged them to be the torch lights of the society. “Ideas rule the world, hence this convocation is an indication of the seriousness and commitment you have shown to your studies. Bring the same to bear as you go to the outside world ‘’, he remarked.

He lauded former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Odein Ajumogobia for bagging the university’s honourary doctorate degree in law, observing that the award was in recognition of Ajumogobia’s hardwork and integrity even as he wished him well in his future endeavour.

Earlier, in his address, the Pro-Chancellor of the university, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte had said that the institution was undergoing drastic changes, and expressed appreciation to the Governor for providing the moral and financial support to the university’s governing council.

Justice Karibi-Whyte said,’’ I wish to express our profound gratitude to your Excellency for your unparalleled and continued support to the Rivers State University of Science and Technology(RSUST). You are one Visitor to this university that has shown a thorough understanding of the peculiar problems of our university’’.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Barineme Fakae said the convocation was coming six months after  last year’s one to clear the backlog of 2010-2011, and promised that the next convocation would come up next year.’’

He noted that the university has made tremendous strides over the years with a full accreditation of all its programmes by the National University Commission(NUC). Currently, he said the institution has become a world class in infrastructure and ICT, as it was rated A in its category of universities by NUC.

 

Chris Oluoh & Kevin Nengia

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DPR Plans Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy For Oil, Gas Industry

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it is formulating a Maximum Economic Recovery (MER) strategy for Nigeria to attain maximum value delivery from its oil and gas resources.

The Director, DPR, Mr Sarki Auwalu, made the announcement during a keynote address at the 2021 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE), yesterday, in Lagos.

The conference has as its theme, “The Future of Energy –A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health, and the Global Oil Market.”

Auwalu said the industry initiative was one of the outcomes of the work of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC), Lagos inaugurated in January by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said, “Following an in-depth assessment of the status of the industry, the department identified the need to formulate the ‘Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy for Nigeria’.

“This is to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimisation and the economic benefits arising therefrom.

“The framework for this industry action plan outlines six pillars or building blocks.”

Auwalu said the pillars were: Reserves Maturation and Production Optimisation, Exploration and Resources Maturation, Improved Oil Recovery and Enhanced Oil Recovery, Implementation Asset Stewardship, Performance Evaluation and Rewards Risk Management.

According to him, the draft framework has been shared with the industry, including professional associations like the SPE and the National Association of Petroleum Explorationists.

He said this was in preparation for an industry collaborative workshop to co-develop and enunciate this strategy for immediate execution.

“We count on the contributions and buy-in of all stakeholders on this crucial national assignment for our overall benefit and industry sustainability,“he said.

Auwalu said Nigeria was rising to the occasion as the ‘trigger’ for continental growth and economic transformation using its oil and gas resources to drive value for national development.

He said the DPR would continue to foster innovative ideas and create opportunities for investments and sustainability in the industry.

Auwalu said, “As always, we are enthusiastic to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, including the SPE, toward the realisation of government’s aspirations for the oil and gas sector.

“In our role as business enablers and opportunity providers, DPR will continue to promote efficiency to meet the needs of the industry, creating value, enhancing transparency, reducing barriers and transaction costs.”

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Pensioners Urge PenCom To Implement Unpaid 15% Increment

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Pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have appealed to the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to implement their 15 and 33 per cent pension increment and other benefits.

The Contributory Pensioners Union of Nigeria (CPUN), South-West Zone, made the appeal,yesterday, during a peaceful protest held in Ibadan.

The CPUN President, Mr Joseph Idowu, while addressing newsmen said that PenCom has yet to implement the increment since 2007 and 2010 in spite of various promises.

Idowu said that their counterparts, under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), had been enjoying the increment through the proactive stand of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).

“The new consequential adjustment in pension due to the latest increase in workers’ salaries and wages are also being enjoyed by pensioners under DBS, neglecting the CPS pensioners.

“No CPS pensioner has received any interest on their accrued benefits since 2007 till date.

“We require your urgent attention to ensure that arrears on this are calculated and paid at the Federal Government official rate, as at the time of retirement,” Idowu said.

The president said that his members were suffering as some of them collect as low as N3, 000 as their monthly pension which was not accepted.

Idowu also said that his members were not happy with the delay in the payment of their retirement benefits, which the commission now paid after one year of retirement, contrary to PRA Act 2004 (Amended).

He said that Section 16 (5) of PRA Act 2004 says pensioners should be paid not more than three months after retirement.

Idowu, however, commended the commission for prompt payment of their monthly pension, urging them to prioritise welfare of pensioners under the CPS.

Also, a member of the union, Mrs Clara Fumilayo, called on the Federal Government to assist the pensioners,

Fumilayo said that their monthly pension could no more buy any tangible things based on the situation in the country.

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‘Only 29% Of Babies Breastfed Due To Reliance On Breast Milk Substitute’

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A professor of Paediatric and Child Health, Alice Romoke-Nte, says the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitute by manufacturers was responsible for the gap in breastfeeding of children by mothers in Nigeria.

Nte, who is also the coordinator, Baby Friendly Initiative at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) said the advertising of these baby food weakens the confidence of the mothers and makes them feel that these breast milk substitutes are better off.

She said this has left only 29 percent of Nigerian babies breastfed as a result.

Nte said the UPTH, Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt and other stakeholders were using this year’s World Breastfeeding Week to carry out aggressive campaigns to raise awareness for the need of exclusive breastfeeding.

She said the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes would be included in steps to ensure full compliance of marketing these artificial body foods.

Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt that joined in the rally yesterday morning for exclusive breastfeeding to mark the World Breastfeeding Week includes, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Garden City, Top Health, Seaport, Eco, Atlantic City, and Golf Estate.

Others include, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Gateway, City Valley, Passport, Creek View, Sky Waves, and Rotary Club of Port Harcourt.

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