As the Federal Government is working round the clock to reach an agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, in other to end the over three months strike of university lecturers, the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has laid out plans to give research grants to lecturers in universities in the nine Niger Delta states.
This additional incentive was made known yesterday at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt by the Acting Managing Director of the Commission, Dr. Christy Atako, when the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, UNICAL, Professor James Epoke, paid her a courtesy visit.
Dr. Atako told the visiting Vice Chancellor that the NDDC had made adequate provisions in the 2013 budget to fund the research activities of lecturers in the universities. She stated that the Commission was determined to provide the necessary support to elevate the quality of education in the country.
The NDDC boss said that education was a critical component of development. And for this reason, she said, the Commission had placed a lot of emphasis on the sector to underscore its inherent value in societal growth. She said that the Commission has continued to sponsor Niger Delta indigenes for overseas post-graduate studies.
“We have so far given 610 post-graduate scholarships in science disciplines to Niger Delta students,” she said.
Dr. Atako assured the VC that the hostel project being executed by the NDDC in UNICAL would be fast-tracked to ensure that it was completed as soon as possible. She said that out of the 19 hostels being built by the Commission in universities and polytechnics across the Niger Delta, five had been completed, while six others were nearing completion.
She pledged NDDC’s assistance to the University of Calabar to enable it host the West African University Games scheduled to take place next year. She also said that the Commission would support the university’s debate being organized by UNICAL.
The UNICAL Vice Chancellor had requested the assistance of the NDDC in the area of sports and academic development in the university. Professor Epoke said that the West African University Games was a very important event not only for UNICAL but for Nigeria being the economic power-house of the West African sub-region.