Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE) has said it is set to drive the development of automobile engine as well as become a centre for training and research for foreign students.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Akii Ibhadode stated this yesterday at the inauguration of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) Joint Ventureâ€™s ‘Professorial Chair in Light Weight Automobile Engine Development’ in FUPRE.
According to the VC, the gesture is to enable the school develop skills in automobile engine that will ensure local manufacturing of engines in the nearest future.
Ibhabode later at a press briefing disclosed that the institution hopes to replace two-wheel and three-wheel vehicles with saloon versions having same lightweight engines and eventually provide a research and training ground for students across the world.
“As a university, we are using this Professorial Chair to influence the development of automobiles in Nigeria. We want to displace these two and three wheelers by replacing them with four-wheel lightweight vehicles ultimately made in Nigeria to crash the cost of tricycles and so on. It will aid entrepreneurs and economic development.
“There’s no single manufacturer of engine parts, not engines in whole, in Nigeria. We want to ensure that as soon as possible, we will be able to manufacture automobile engines. FUPRE is in the forefront of driving the automobile industry of Nigeria. We want to be the African hub for training and research for foreign students.
“As part of the global outreach by the University, FUPRE is an active participant in the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) which is an international organisation that facilitates students exchange programme,â€ Obhadode stated during the briefing.
Earlier, the Managing Director/ Country Chair of SPDC JV, Mr. Osagie Okunbor, represented by Dr. Alice Ajeh noted that FUPRE, one of the six active SPDC Professorial Chairs in universities across Nigeria, has shown Nigerian studentsâ€™ capacity for global competitiveness citing her stunning performances in the Shell Eco-Marathon competition in the past three years.
However, she pointed that the gesture goes to prove the companyâ€™s commitment to growing local content and encourage responsible energy usage.
â€œIt is a chance to harness the vast and untapped opportunities existing within the value chain of Nigeria’s fast-growing automotive industry and to gainfully engage our talented youthsâ€, she added.
The event was graced by several dignitaries including the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, represented by Dr. Sam Etatughe; Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, represented by the Member representing Uvwie in the state’s House of Assembly, Hon Efe Ofobruku; HRM Emmanuel Sideso, Ovie of Uvwie kingdom (represented by chiefs); Gen. Obadah (Rtd.), Maj. Brig. Dominic Oneya, Chief Tuesday Onoge.
Others are representatives of the Principal of the Petroleum Training Institute, the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, and the Commissioner of Higher Education among others.