Patrick Ugeh in Abuja
As part of its incremental development of nuclear power, the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, NAEC, has scaled up the process with the signing of Memoranda of Understanding with six universities, one in each geopolitical zone, for manpower development.
The latest of the educational institutions to benefit from the programme is the University of Abuja whose vice chancellor, Professor Michael Adikwu, and NAEC’s DG, Dr. Erepamo Osaisai, endorsed the document empowering them to collaborate.
The other universities involved are Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Port Harcourt; University of Maiduguri and Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
Under the agreement, Osaisai said, students of University of Abuja would be allowed to go to China for nuclear studies for between six months and one year. He said Nigeria was working towards using highly enriched uranium for different developmental purposes.
In addition, the university and NAEC also agreed to exchange information in capacity building, enriching the contents of existing programmes in the physical sciences and engineering, as well as curriculum development in nuclear science and engineering.
Other areas of cooperation are the implementation of the approved curricula by way of structured university degree programmes and establishment, development and operation of a network of physical facilities and devising appropriate mechanisms for sharing and effective utilisation of the resources.
Staff development and exchange programmes; and conducting research and development activities for the purpose of manpower development are also part of the package.
Hailing the partnership, the vice chancellor of University of Abuja, Prof. Adikwu, lamented that the bane of Nigeria was the desire by most people to want to go solo, saying collaborations such as that between his institution and NAEC were the way most great countries attained their level of development.
He said he had already told his engineering staff to draw up a curriculum in nuclear engineering, and hoped that with the MoU, things would move faster.