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FUPRE laments FG’s neglect, may approach National Assembly

By Chido Okafor, Warri
17 February 2020   |   4:13 am
Management of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun (FUPRE), Delta State, has said it may seek National Assembly’s assistance to address...

Management of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun (FUPRE), Delta State, has said it may seek National Assembly’s assistance to address its funding challenges to enable it to live up to its billing.

In spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing the act establishing FUPRE in 2017, the streams of funding expected from allied organisations like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), were yet to support it in terms of funding, while the university has not been captured in the national budgets unlike its counterparts.

Speaking shortly after the 13th matriculation ceremony of 1,485 fresh students, Registrar of the university, Ejikemenwor Ichendu, said FUPRE had not been able to attain its mandate due to lack of fund.

He said the university was created as a specialised Petroleum institution and ought to be equipped with modern equipment for training in oil and gas, but that was non-existent.

“At some point when we meet to discuss issues of funding, we wonder if there is any particular offence the university has committed against the Federal Government that it has neglected its funding.

“It has been a terrible experience. The President had in 2017 signed the act establishing FUPRE into law in 2017 and we are grateful that he did. The act has streams of funding from various organisations, like the Nigeria Content and Development Board (NCDB), the NNPC, PTDF and others, but until now, not one naira has been received from any of these organisations.

“We are also planning to visit the National Assembly to complain that the law has still not been implemented up till now as it concerns the funding of the university, you can see the university, the environment, it looks like a glorified secondary school, there is nothing petroleum you can see on entering this environment,” he said.

Ichendu lamented that the management had lobbied and written to all relevant bodies with the intention to address the funding issue, but to no avail.

On how the university had managed to thrive despite dearth of funds, he said the school was being funded just like any other conventional university through the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Ministry of Education.

He said although government was able to pay the salaries of the staff, but that on issues of overhead, there was nothing to write home about saying, “What government gives us as overhead is just a pittance that you cannot do anything with.”

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Akii Ibhadodeh, said FUPRE was the first petroleum university in Africa and the sixth in the world having been established in March 2007, with a mandate to hone and produce skilled high-level manpower and relevant expertise to drive the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and across the globe.

The Vice Chancellor, who was represented by Prof. (Mrs) Tawari-Fufeyin, said the university had made some modest achievements despite the lack of funding and had entered into different partnerships to gain strength and capacity to surmount obstacles to its development.