By Inyali Peter, Calabar
The University of Calabar (Unical) has appealed to the management and board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC to intervene in its ongoing infrastructural development efforts.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Zana Akpagu made the appeal during a courtesy call on the NDDC Chairman, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba at the Board’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
Prof. Akpagu who briefed newsmen in Calabar about the aim of his visit decried that as one of the oldest Universities in the South/South region, Unical was the least developed in terms of infrastructure and academic programmes.
He appealed to the Commission to support what he described as the varsity “High-Impact priority projects” which include an Untra-Modern Medical Centre, a standard Senate building and a well furnished building for the new created faculty of Pharmacy.
Explaining the need for the projects Akpagu lamented that “the university still uses the temporary four room premises acquired for the Medical Centre since 1976. The number of students admitted has increased from 196 in 1975 to 47,000 in 2017. Consequently, the Medical Centre and its facilities can no longer cater for the needs of staff and students.
“The University of Calabar is forty two years old and the only second generation University in Nigeria without a befitting Senate building as its obtained in other universities within and around the world. The Senate building is the seat of Government and houses the Central Administration of the institution. The number of Senators has grown from mere 20 at inception to over 450 today.
“Also, the University has just established a faculty of Pharmacy and admission of students into the faculty commenced in the 2016/2017 session. There’s an urgent need to have a modern faculty of pharmacy building to the suit the demands of pharmaceutical science studies.
“Based on the foregoing, the University seeks intervention from NDDC for its priority projects”
While commending the NDDC for the assistance the University has received over the years, he drew the Chairman’s attention to some of the Commission’s uncompleted projects such as hostel complex for Law students, the Senator Bassey Henshaw Centre for Indigenous Languages Building as well as the Faculty of Law Building which was originated and funded by Ndoma-Egba while in the Senate.
Reacting, the NDDC Chairman who’s reaction was contained in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Communication, Clara Braide and made available to journalists, he promised to complete and furnish the faculty of Law building even as pledged the resolve of the Commission to support the development of infrastructure in all Niger Delta tertiary institutions.
Ndoma-Egba explained that the main resource of any society is the youths and not natural resources therefore the youths must be properly educated, skilled, empowered and motivated.
“If youths are not properly educated, skilled or motivated, rather than be a blessing, they will be a curse. We are concerned that our youths must remain a resource and not a curse to our region. That is why we are partnering with universities and higher institutions in the Niger Delta region to educate and produce some of the best minds the country will have to offer.
“The NDDC is making efforts to ensure that all on-going projects in the universities in the Niger Delta states were completed, especially in the University of Calabar being one of the oldest universities in the South-South.
“I want to assure you that the Faculty of Law building which was on-going, would not only be completed, but would also be furnished, and would stand out to be one of the best Faculties in the country”.