‘Rivalry from Conventional Institutions Stalled Passage of Petroleum Varsity Bill’


Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

After 10 years of operating in a vacuum without statutory laws guiding the establishment of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurum, Delta State, the Pro-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru has revealed that the major challenge that stalled the signing of the bill to law was rivalry from conventional institutions.

Zuru, who disclosed this in Abuja, said the university which is the first of its kind in Africa, deserves special funding from oil and gas industries due its specialised nature and this attracted a big fight which prolonged the signing of the bill.

He said all the courses of the institution have been approved with 13 being accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC), and regretted that reputable stakeholders that were expected to‎ make meaningful contributions to the growth of the university were nowhere to be found especially the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Petroleum Trust Development Fund.

“Some of the issues that stalled the signing of the bill include rivalry from conventional universities. There was contention by the conventional universities claiming that it should not attract special funding from the oil and gas industry. There was a big fight and this was prolonged.
“We deserve special funding from the oil and gas industry because we are a specialised university with special funding and the critical agency to ‎do this is the Petroleum Trust Development Fund. It should do more for the university.

“Other reasons include the abandonment of the university by stakeholders. No single budget was sponsored by the CBN and PTDF and this has to change. Not even the Niger Delta Development Commission has funded a single development project as well as all the states in the Niger Delta region.”

The pro-chancellor added: “Without a governing law, the university has been operating in a vacuum and this has repercussions because it has not been statutory recognised and the board as well as management will not be able to negotiate‎ anything for the university’s interest. But now with the signing into law, it has been emboldened to negotiate with its critical players in the oil and gas industry.”
He said the institution which has about 6,000 students will give admission through the normal clearing system which is the UTME and has made proposals for the commencement of postgraduate programmes.