Ejiofor Alike
The Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun in Delta State, Professor Akaehomen Akii Ibhadode has raised the alarm that the failure of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to remit two per cent of their yearly budgets for research programmes in the university is hindering the institution from realising its mandate.

Section 9 (2) of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, (Establishment) Act of 2017 as gazetted by the federal government, provides that “the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Petroleum Technology Development Fund and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) shall provide two per cent of their annual budgets for research programmes in petroleum technology acquisition, and facilities in the university.”

Section 9 (3) also provides that the “Petroleum Technology Development Fund shall contribute at least two per cent of its gross revenues for the academic and infrastructural development of the university,” while (4) states that “the general fund shall be applied for the purpose of the university.”

But speaking when he visited THISDAY’s Corporate Head Office in Lagos, along with the university’s Registrar, Mr. Ejikeme Uchendu and the PRO, Mr. Boniface Oyendi, the institution’s Vice Chancellor stated that these agencies have not remitted any funding to the university.

According to him, paucity of funds has hindered the capacity of the institution to realise its core mandate of “producing socially mature, skilled personnel with capability not only to understand, use and adapt existing technology in petroleum industry, but also improve on and develop new ones.”

The vice chancellor noted that even though the university was set up in 2007, it was only in 2017 that the enabling law was passed, adding that prior to the passage of the enabling Act, the university had faced teething challenges, which led to low student enrolment.

“When other universities such as the University of Lagos and the University of Benin are talking about having 40,000 students, we have only about 3,000 students. So, we cannot raise funding from students,” he said.

“As a specialised university, we are supposed to impact the oil and gas industry positively and we are telling the federal government to challenge us. We are talking of modular refineries in the country. Why can’t the government challenge us to set up mini refineries? We want a challenge from the industry and the government. We need funding and we need to be challenged by the government and the industry,” he explained.

In his remarks, Uchendu said the federal government had a good idea in establishing the university but had failed to provide funding to enable the institution to realise its mandates.

“If the law establishing the university is implemented to the letter, there is no way the university will not be among the top 100 universities in the world. The bill captures everything, including the funding agencies that will provide funding. NCDMB is supposed to contribute two per cent of their annual budget; PTDF is also supposed to contribute. But these agencies have not contributed. If you come to the university today, the place can best be described as a glorified secondary school,” Uchendu added.