The Chairman of the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, has challenged universities to collaborate with development agencies in carrying out studies to help communities surmount environmental challenges.
Senator Ndoma-Egba stated this during a courtesy visit by the Vice-Chancellor of the Cross River State University of Technology, CRUTECH, Professor Anthony Owan-Enoh, at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt.
The Chairman threw the challenge to universities against the backdrop of the recent landslide and flooding which cut off a section of the Batriko-Bumaji Road in Cross River State.
Senator Ndoma-Egba said that time has come for the NDDC to look inwards for homegrown capacity. He declared: “We need to partner with educational institutions to undertake studies for the benefit of our communities. We will certainly look inwards to tap the intellectual resources from our universities. We need to partner with them to enhance our service delivery.”
The NDDC Chairman stated that education was an important aspect of the NDDC mandate, noting: “The real resource of any nation is the education of its young people. If you want to invest in a nation, education of the youths is the best option.”
Senator Ndoma-Egba assured the Vice-Chancellor that the ultra-modern university hostel being built by NDDC in CRUTECH was very close to completion. He added: “We are eager to add it to the list of projects to be commissioned in November as part of the activities to mark the one year anniversary of the current board and management of the NDDC.”
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Owan-Enoh, thanked the NDDC for building a 500-bed hostel for the university, describing it as an outstanding project.
He said: “The hostel is about 99 per cent ready. It will be a delight to have it fully completed and commissioned during our convocation ceremony next month.”
Prof. Owan-Enoh told the NDDC Chairman that the university was handicapped in many areas. “Apart from the hostel, which we need urgently, we also need help in the construction of internal road networks in our campuses. We equally appeal to NDDC to assist us with the provision of equipment for our engineering departments.”
Meanwhile, Senator Ndoma-Egba had earlier received members of the Bumaji Development Association in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State. He commiserated with the communities affected by the landslide that occurred on September 18 in Bumaji.
According to the NDDC Chairman, the area had one of the most difficult terrains in Nigeria, which made the disaster even more difficult for the people to cope.
He declared that NDDC was already doing something about the road cut off by the landslide, adding that it was now more urgent. “Sooner than later you will see the hands of the NDDC,” he assured.
He stressed the need to undertake some studies on the landslide phenomenon in the area, adding: “there is need to carry out a seismic study of the area. This is not just for the region but for the country.”
The Bumaji delegation, led by Hon. Cletus Obun, called for assistance from the NDDC following the disaster that befell their communities. They lamented: “We have never had government presence in our area. All we have got, so far, is the Boki-Obanlinku Road project awarded by NDDC in 2013 through the efforts of Senator Ndoma-Egba.”
Hon. Obun stated: “We need help urgently and NDDC is our last bus stop. We have no other place to run to. NDDC should help us to complete the road that it has already started.”
He pleaded for a thorough review of the situation in the area to avert future disasters, stating that the landslide had caused a lot of destruction for his people. ‘We are facing a humanitarian crisis. The road and the only bridge linking various communities have been destroyed and our people are completely cut off,” he said.