The Vice Chancellor of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike in Abia State, Professor Henry Edeoga, has appealed to the Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to speed up action on the 522-bed modern hostel it is building for the students of the university. The Vice Chancellor, who was speaking on Wednesday when the commission’s top officials came to inspect the hostel, said he was making the urgent appeal because the students of the university were threatening to move into the hostel which was still receiving finishing touches.
Professor Edeoga said that the university had expected that the hostel would be ready for hand over late last year and had, therefore, admitted 6,000 students on the assumption that they would be fully accommodated. “The students have been on my neck over the accommodation problem on campus. They even threatened to pack into the hostel even as the remaining work on the building is going on,” the VC said.
The Vice Chancellor thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for directing the NDDC to urgently complete on-going projects before embarking on new ones, noting that the university hostel projects deserved to be given priority. He also gave kudos to the NDDC Managing Director, Sir (Barr) Bassey Dan-Abia, for coming personally to supervise the project to facilitate its completion in the shortest possible time.
The NDDC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer said that the Commission placed emphasis on the 19 proto-type hostels it was building in universities across the Niger Delta region. He said that all the agencies of government have a responsibility to ensure that development projects being undertaken by the Federal Government were fully realized. He said: “The President has directed us to complete all on-going projects and we intend to comply strictly with this directive. Unfortunately, we do not have enough funds to complete all the projects at the same time. So, we need to prioritize in carrying out our mandate.”
Barr. Dan-Abia assured the Vice Chancellor that the contractor would be funded adequately to ensure that the work on the hostel was completed as quickly as possible, noting that the Commission had completed and handed over similar hostels in Imo State University, Federal
University of Science and Technology, Owerri, University of Benin and the Delta State University, Abraka. “The university hostel projects are very dear to us,” the MD said.
The Secretary to the Abia State Government, Professor Nkpa Agu Nkpa, commended the NDDC for helping to address the accommodation challenges facing many universities in the Niger Delta. He said that he was directed by the state governor, Chief Theodore Orji, to join the VC in appealing to the NDDC to quicken the pace of work at the university hostel in Umudike as the only university of agriculture in the region.
The NDDC inspection team, led by the Managing Director and other senior Management Staff, had the previous day visited similar hostel projects at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital which was virtually ready for commissioning, as well as the new student hostel at the permanent site of the University of Uyo which is also at an advanced stage.