The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, operator of the NNPC/Shell/Total, Agip Joint Venture, has pledged sustained annual subvention for the Rivers State University’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) to enable it meet its mandate, and fast-track academic excellence in specific fields to bridge technical manpower gaps in the region.
The company also said that for the centre to run smoothly, a board of trustees made up of distinguished academic team from the Rivers State University and experts from SPDC will work in synergy to give the centre the best it can have.
The SPDC disclosed this while commissioning the Centre of Excellence in Marine and Offshore Engineering, last Thursday, at the Amphitheatre, RSU, Port Harcourt.
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of SPDC, Mr Osagie Okunbor, stated that the centre would be open to students who meet the minimum entry requirements of a Second-Class Upper Division, with minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.8 in Marine Engineering, adding that the special programme would last for 18-months.
Okunbor, who is also the country chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria, further advised RSU management that as partners in the project, the institution should nominate a director, who would coordinate the academic and research programmes at the centre.
He stated that SPDC was exploring a window for collaboration with the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) in order to encourage the participation of other well-positioned stakeholders to make the CoE a reference point.
Okunbor listed three core business strategies of the company, which emphasise, “Make it safe, make it work, and make it grow” and expressed optimism that the CoE would internalise those values and make them work for the university, while urging the first African Professor of Marine Engineering, Professor Kelvin Datonye Bobmanuel, to ensure that the three business strategies work in the centre.
In his remarks, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, expressed appreciation to SPDC for the kind gesture, and hoped that the facility would help foster collaboration between oil and gas industry and the academia to promote best practices in Marine and Offshore exploration, given the deltaic nature of the state.
Wike hoped that “the centre would help produce a crop of graduates that would specialize in technological innovations, scientific studies and general technical tasks associated with offshore oil and gas exploration and production of vessels, thereby enhancing manpower development in the state.”
Represented by the Commissioner for Education, Prof Kaniye Ebeku, the governor commended the company for the gesture, and described SPDC as a good corporate citizen, who has done its part, while urging the students to make proper use of the CoE by ensuring that no aspect of the facilities at the centre is misused.
Stories by Susan Serekara-Nwihana
NGO Engages Traditional Rulers On Girl-Child Education In Zamfara
The Keeping Girls in School (KGIS) project, under a Non-Governmenal Organisation, Girls-Child Concerns, says it is collaborating with traditional and religious leaders to sensitise communities in Zamfara on the impact of Girl-Child Education.
The KGIS National Team Leader, Hajiya Fatida Sada, stated this while addressing newsmen in Gusau on Saturday.
Sada said the NGO would also engage women and youth groups in the campaign that aims to increase girls enrollment and retention in school in the State.
She said that the project, being funded by the Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), would build capacities to the selected groups who would in turn engage in campaign to encourage enrollment of girls in schools.
According to her, the main work of the project is to build capacity and provide funding to the selected groups to sensitise their communities on the impact of girl-child education.
“In Nigeria, five States of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe and Borno were selected to implement the project for a period of one and half years.
“In Zamfara, we selected two LGAs of Anka and Bakura for the pilot project.
“We have conducted advocacy training with traditional and religious leaders at community level.
“We also conducted meeting with women and youth groups from the two LGAs on the same objective.
“We are expecting these groups to cascade what they have learned from the training to people at grassroots through sensitisation and creation of awareness.
“We paid advocacy visit to Emirs of Anka and Bakura, Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad and Muhammad-Bello Sani, respectively.
“We had fruitful discussions with the royal fathers; they encourage us and assured us of their maximum support and cooperation,” Sada said.
The team leader appealed to stakeholders, especially parents and guardians, to support advocacy groups to promote future of the girl-child and women in the society.
Reps Oppose School Resumption, Propose Three-Month Postponement
The House of Representatives has faulted the Federal Government for giving schools the go-ahead to resume today despite the increasing cases of COVID-19.
The House said government officials did not consult the relevant committees of the National Assembly, contrary to their claim that all relevant stakeholders were consulted before arriving at the January 18, 2021 resumption date.
It, therefore, demanded postponement of resumption for three months, where necessary safety measures weren’t put in place and compliance with protocols low.
Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education and Services, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, disclosed these in a telephone interview with our correspondent Saturday.
“They did not consult us; at least in my committee, nobody from the ministry spoke to me. I have been in Abuja. And I am not sure that they spoke to any of my members. They just don’t see us as part of the critical stakeholders,” he said.
Ihonvbere, in a statement titled School Resumption: Are we truly prepared? issued in Abuja, Saturday opposed the Monday resumption date.
Varsity Offers Scholarship To Student Over Integrity
The Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUE), has offered a four-year comprehensive sholarship to a student with the display of unparalleled integrity.
Alongside the scholarship, the university also gave an award of Certificate of Honour and Cash sum of N200,000 to the student.
The student, master Victor Ugochukwu Ami, a year one student of the Department of political science of the Institution was said to have picked up a Android Smart phone and returned it to the owner when he had no phone himself.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the award ceremony at the university’s Auditorium, main campus, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ozo-Mekuri Ndimele, said the act of Victor Ugochukwu Ami was worth celebrating as a proof to the world that despite the degrading state of moral and social standards in the society, there are still good and well-behaved students who would not sell their conscience, not even for a smart phone.
Ndimele said, “we are here for our students. We love them and especially for those who have displayed simple integrity, we will reward them and that is what we have done. Victor Ugochukwu Ami picked up a smart phone and returned it to the owner when he had no phone himself. Very important. It is something we are happy about and it’s worth celebrating”.
Ndimele continued, “we gave him a four-year comprehensive scholarship to look after his fees and other levies. Also, a small amount of money for his upkeep while in school. We also gave him a Certificate of Honour that wherever he goes in the world, he goes with it and showcase himself. He is the male student of the University for 2019/2020 academic session and so we call him the Student Man of the Year”.
Earlier, the Head of Department, Political Science, IAUE, Prof Bennett Ozioma, explained that the department was not as bad as viewed except that it was outspoken and did not tolerate intimidation, maintaining that it breeds and turnout good, moral standing students as well.
While noting that Victor Ugochukwu Ami was not the first student to pick a misplaced smart phone, Ozioma said the act of returning the phone was a show of the nobility of the department in the comity of departments across universities.
The Political Science HOD charged the student to keep the flag flying and pledged the department’s commitment to follow and nurture him in order not to be led astray.
Ozioma further lauded the Vice Chancellor for the honour given to the department.
By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu
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