By Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo
The National Institute for Nigerian Languages, (NINLAN), Aba, has commended the federal government for its intervention in the construction of its internal roads, saying that it would boost academic activities in the institution.
The road network built by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing was inaugurated by the minister Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by the federal controller of works in Abia State, Engr. Bede Obioha at a ceremony to officially hand over the road to the management of NINLAN.
However, the Executive Director of NINLAN, Prof. Obiajulu Emejulu in his address at the ceremony pleaded with the minister to extend the newly built road by 400 metres. This, he said, would help mitigate the erosion menace confronting the institution and to link critical sections of the institution, which is still struggling to develop its huge permanent site.
He further asked the minister to also consider the need to provide drainage system to collect flood waters and prevent the newly built roads from being destroyed by erosion.
Emejulu emphasised that the Institute has serious erosion problem which has been documented and submitted to the Ecological Funds Office for its intervention.
He lamented that NINLAN has in its 28-year history suffered “untold marginalisation” in terms of funding as it is not covered to access funds from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) due to the provisions in the new law establishing the agency.
“The capital subvention from the Federal Government since the return of our autonomy in 2014 has been abysmally poor and inadequate to lift the Institute’s infrastructure beyond the mediocre level. This is why your ministry’s intervention with this road is like manna from above for famished people,” the Executive Director said.
The works minister, in his address read by controller, said that although a lot of work was still needed in many sectors of the nation, his ministry was working hard to bridge the infrastructural gap.
He said that the federal government was determined to make critical interventions to support education hence there are presently 49 road interventions in tertiary institutions across Nigeria, out of which 17 had already been completed and handed over in 2020.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, represented by his Deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, also commended the works minister for completing the NINLAN internal road network, but drew his attention to federal roads in the state that need his ministry’s intervention.
He listed the roads to include Opobo- Azumini Road, Aba-Port Harcourt Express Way, around Ariaria, and Umuahia- Ikot Ekpene Highway, adding that they “need urgent and drastic attention to alleviate the sufferings of not only Abians but also other users of the roads.”