BY ONITSHA SHEDRACK———
The Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, weekend at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, FUPRE, Effurun, Uvwie local government area of Delta assured the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Akii Bhadode and the Monarch of Uvwie kingdom, HRM Emmanuel Ekemejuwan Sideso (JP), OON, Abe 1, of a speedy passage of the bill establishing the university.
The Senate Committee led by its Vice Chairman, Sen. Tijjani Yahaya Kaura and two members, Sen. Ubani Shittu and Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege on behalf of the committee chairman, Sen. Binta Masi Garba, decried poor funding of the institution, which is they say have not given the institution the needed boast.
Sen. Kaura who, while speaking commended Sen. Omo-Agege for moving for the quick passage of the FUPRE bill in the first quarter of the year, explained that if the institution is well funded it would compete with other petroleum institutions across the world.
Speaking on the challenges faced by the institution, Sen. Kaura also assured the Vice Chancellor that apart from the passage of the bill committee will ensure TETFUND look into funding challenge facing the institution presently.
He also told the people of Uvwie kingdom that the institution has come to stay, adding that with what they have seen on ground during the committee assessment visit; it shows clearly if properly funded the university will bridge the needed man power gap in the petroleum industry in Nigeria.
The senator representing Delta Central senatorial district, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, commended the committee for finding time to visit the institution, adding that the efforts of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the chairman of the committee, Sen. Binta Garba, the vice, Sen. Kaura, and other senators over the passage of the FUPRE bill cannot be over emphasized.
Earlier, the FUPRE Vice Chancellor, Akii Ibhadode highlighting some of the challenges facing the institution as such as; absence of law establishing the university, limiting its operations and aspirations, gross under funding, adding where as the university requesting for a budget of N35billion this year, it got a paltry N1.4billion as personnel cost.
He also stated that poor infrastructure of the university had made it more or less a glorified secondary school. According to him, few available structures are not purpose-built, others challenges includes lack of class rooms, lack of office spaces, lack of laboratories, lack of students hostels and inability to pay staff salaries.
He stated further that ban on employment have denied them the opportunity to employ professors, academics and technologists, starting of college of Management Sciences and School of Postgraduate Studies in 2016/2017 session is being threatened due to lack of funds.
Stressing that some of the academic programmes might fail accreditation this year due to poor funding as the university may not be able to raise the sum N800m need for the accreditation Chemistry, Mathematics, Environmental Management and Toxicology, Geology and Geophysics programmes.
The Vice Chancellor also complained of gross deficit of senior academic staff in college of technology, saying that the institution has only three professors and associate professors instead of at least twenty, two senior lecturers instead of at least forty and only Mechanical Engineering Department has professors and other numerous challenges facing the institution.