… As NDDC donates Science equipment to 46 Niger Delta Schools
Interim Administrator, of Niger Delta Development Commission Mr. Efiong Akwa, has said that science education is at the core of the Commission’s mandate. He made this revelation during the Flag-off donation and distribution of essential science equipment to selected secondary schools in the Niger Delta region.
Consequently, he said: “We are donating essential science equipment to forty-six schools across the region. The goal of the Commission is to facilitate the effective teaching and learning of science subjects, in order to stimulate and foster the interest of young minds in the study of the sciences.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer observed that science students represented the future leaders and key players in the regional growth strategies and efforts that would ensure that the Niger Delta region reaped adequate reward from its natural riches.
He stated: “The relevance of science education to our lives and its capacity to apply vital life-skills to everyday activities, indeed, cannot be over emphasized. That is why we must equip our laboratories with modern science equipment. That is why we must promote the teaching and learning of science subjects in schools.”
Akwa noted that the donation of science equipment was coming less than a month after the NDDC flagged off the distribution of vaccines, cold chains and related medical equipment to states in the Niger Delta region.
He remarked: “Although these two programmes are separated by time and place, they are intertwined in the way they both highlight the importance the Commission attaches to the wellbeing of the Niger Delta and its people.
“While the vaccines and medical equipment touch at the heart of our health enterprise, science and its essential equipment lie at the foundation of our economic health. Indeed, while no community, country or society can realise its potential and promise unless the best of its public health system is promoted, no society has ever developed, in a sustainable manner, without the development of its science and technology.”
Akwa stated that the main economic activities central to the development of the Niger Delta, such as oil, gas and agriculture, were energised and propelled by science and technology, noting that they were the key that turns the ignition of sustainable development, which moves societies forward.
The NDDC boss highlighted some of the interventions of the Commission in the education sector. According to him, they include: “Renovation and rehabilitation of schools in all the states; provision and supply of desks and benches, creating a more conducive environment and classrooms for teaching and learning; donation of desktop and laptop computers to schools, in order to address computer illiteracy in schools.
Others are: “Provision and distribution of NDDC customized teaching and learning materials to schools, as well as equipping pupils with learning aids; Capacity building workshops for teachers, aimed at enriching and updating their knowledge base with modern teaching techniques for improved learning and campaigns against substance abuse, cultism and examination malpractices, aimed at creating awareness to these social vices, finding ways to curb them and promoting a conducive and healthy learning environment in our schools.”
Akwa also talked about the contributions of the NDDC in promoting quiz competitions in secondary schools, which promote a more engaging reading culture in students, as well as using a reward system to encourage hard work in young minds.
He equally underlined the benefits of the Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarships, which he noted had helped young graduates to acquire specialization in their fields of study, as well as improving their marketability in the competitive global economy.
He said: “As part of the Commission’s human development initiative, and in consideration of the challenges occasioned by the COVID- 19 pandemic, Management has reviewed the NDDC Post-Graduate Scholarship scheme to include approved universities in Nigeria. We therefore encourage our young graduates to take advantage of this opportunity, when advertised.
The Delta State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Patrick Ukah, commended the NDDC, for taking concrete steps to ensure that secondary school students were given good science education.
Ukah, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Augustine Oghoro, expressed the government’s appreciation of the science equipment and promised to put the items to good use.
He appealed to the NDDC to extend the donation to other schools in the state, while calling on other organisations to emulate what the NDDC had done.
Cutting the tape for the flag-off, the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, who represented the Minster, Sir Etekamba Umoren, emphasized the role of science education in nation building, urging the beneficiaries of the science equipment to put them to good use.
NDDC Boss, a Promise Keeper, says UNIUYO VC
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Professor Nyakudo Ndaeyo, has described the Interim Administrator/CEO of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Efiong Okon Akwa, as a promise keeper for ensuring that the long-abandoned 1000-bed NDDC hostel would soon be completed.
Professor Ndaeyo made this declaration when Mr. Akwa paid him a courtesy visit at UNIUYO Senate Chambers, as part of an inspection of the hostel project in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
The Vice Chancellor disclosed that he had extracted the promise from the NDDC boss to complete the project shortly after his appointment as Head of the interventionist agency.
Professor Ndaeyo thanked the NDDC for assisting the university to ease the pressure of accommodation, stressing the need to provide the university’s undergraduates with a conducive learning and living environment in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Akwa, who was accompanied by the state director of the Commission, Mr. Obot Udoette, and directors of the Commission, stated that the hostel, sited at the permanent site of the University, will be completed and commissioned next month.
He said that the NDDC’s commitment to the completion of the students’ hostel project was a result of a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to the Commission to ensure the completion of all its projects in the Niger Delta region.
He said: “The 1,000 bed students’ hostel being built will be a first of its kind in the region. It will have 500 bed spaces for male undergraduates and 500 bed spaces for female undergraduates and will include recreational spaces as well.”
He stated that the university was playing a very important role in the economy and lives of the people of Akwa Ibom State and the South-South region.
The NDDC boss observed that in an era of Covid-19 pandemic, it was necessary to assist universities to properly accommodate students in order to ensure adequate provision for social distancing in the hostels.
Speaking after inspecting the hostel project, the NDDC boss assured that the Commission would assist universities in the region to ensure that their students undertake their studies in comfortable and safe environment.
Akwa expressed delight that the project had reached 95 per cent completion, with only external works and landscaping still being worked on.
He added: “We need to pull out our students from the surrounding villages where they currently reside and host them in a conducive environment fit for learning.”
Fara Dagogo’s bill seeking 13% derivation to be paid directly to host communities bill first reading
A bill seeking to alter the Constitution of the country to pay the 13% derivation fund directly to oil producing host communities has passed first reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.
If passed into law, the 13% derivation fund will be paid directly to the host communities of each benefiting states through the Host Communities Development Commissions.
Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Doctor Farah, Member representing Degema/ Bonny Federal Constituency from Rivers State, said the bill ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (HB. 1570)’, is intended to address and correct the injustices the oil producing communities have been experiencing.
In demonstrating its seriousness, a section of the bill recommended that ‘ failure of any state to establish the Host Communities Development Commission shall be deemed as an offence and such a state shall forfeit 30% of her monthly benefit from the 13% derivation fund till such a time that the Commission is established’
Before the presentation of the bill, the Federal Lawmaker had accused the Governors of the Niger Delta states, of wasting N10 trillion from the derivation fund over the years
“This is a very sad commentary as it relates to the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta. The 13 per cent Derivation is the fund set aside to assist oil-producing communities to tackle infrastructural decay and degradation, emphasis on the oil-producing communities. What it means basically is that in sharing the federation account revenue, 13 per cent should be set aside to assist the development of these oil-producing communities.
” About two decades down the line what is there to show for the humongous monies that have come in? The Governors, past and present, view it as free monies”, he said.
“Between 2000 and 2018, over N10trillion from the 13 per cent derivation principle, have been shared to the Niger Delta Governors, on behalf of the oil-producing communities, yet the deplorable living conditions of the people from these oil-producing communities have remained nauseating and deplorable with the people battling and still reeking with the worst and highest form of poverty, “he noted.
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