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A university-based peace advocacy initiative, Pardue Peace Project (PPP) domiciled in Pardue University, Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America, has inaugurated a chapter in the University of Port Harcourt. The new chapter would initiate peace advocacy programmes in tertiary institutions in Rivers State.
Formally known as the Community Peace Development Initiative (COPEDI), the new chapter at its formal inauguration as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), which held at the Centre for Conflict and Gender Studies Hall, University Park, on Thursday, December 8, 2016, will now be known and addressed as Community Empowerment for Greater Peace and Stability Initiative (CEGPASI).
In their separate addresses, Director of PPP and Associate Head of Brian Lamb School of Communication, Dr. Stacey Connaughton and Executive Director of Health Matters Incorporated (HMI), Peter Ujomu, who jointly performed the inauguration, disclosed that CEGPASI was instituted to build peace in Rivers State-based tertiary institutions and their host communities through diverse empowerment programmes that would further enrich intended beneficiaries. 
“The NGO is also committed to running a youth-centred programme through the engagement of youths in productive ventures as an aspect of community development,” Ujomu stated, commending the Management of the University for affording the new chapter an opportunity to blossom into an NGO. He promised that the organisation would intensify efforts aimed at stemming the rising conflict portfolio in Rivers communities. 
In his remarks, representative of the Vice-Chancellor and Director of Quality Assurance and Quality Control Unit, Professor Ikechukwu Agbagwa, commended PPP and HMI for instituting a chapter aimed at building peace in tertiary institutions based in Rivers State and their host communities. “With mechanisms, such as the one you are putting in place, the perennial conflicts we are experiencing in this State would be a thing of the past in our universities and their environs,” he said at the opening ceremony. 
Professor Agbagwa pledged the support of the University Management to activities aimed at promoting peace and ensuring security of lives and property to enable academics to pursue their core mandate in an unencumbered environment.
In her contribution, Contact Person for the University, Professor Julie Umukoro, on behalf of the President of CEGPASI, Gogo Oriekeme, expressed gratitude to the University, Health Matters Incorporated, the Pardue Peace Project and host communities for the partnership aimed at fostering peace and development in the target areas. 
“As part of ongoing projects, we have started a microfinance initiative in selected communities for the empowerment of women and donated motor bikes for effective neighbourhood security policing,” she stated, pleading that the new body would continue to expand its programmes to cover more tertiary institutions outside Rivers State.
In their goodwill messages, Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, Professor Barisua Nwinee, Associate Dean of the Student Affairs Department, Dr. Adedaramola Onyeaso and representative of the Chief Security Officer, Mr. Shirley Chuku, described the inauguration of the NGO as a welcome development for the University and an attempt to ensure that peace returned in the target areas of interest for the new organisation.
Highpoint of the event was the donation of one patrol motorcycle each to three host communities comprising Aluu, Choba, Rumualogu and the University of Port Harcourt to assist in effective community policing.

 

In recognition of the critical role the Admissions Office plays as the first point of contact with prospective candidates who seek admission into the University, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, has charged staff of the Unit to make integrity, accountability, probity and honesty their watchwords in the discharge of their duties at all times.
Professor Lale handed down the charge when he led some Principal and Senior Officers on a familiarisation visit to the Admissions Office at Delta Park, last Monday, describing integrity as the right character trait required of every staff, especially those in the Admissions Office. He warned them against engaging in acts that would tarnish their reputation and put them into trouble, and subsequently drag the good name of the University to the mud.
“For you to be adjudged suitable to work in the sensitive Admissions Office, you must possess a high level of integrity that should earn you the trust of the Registrar and Management of the University. In the past, a few dubiously motivated staff may have compromised their job schedules by engaging in such acts such as selling admission slots to candidates seeking admission into the University. You work in an Office where there is so much temptation, but I want to advise you never to compromise your integrity if you wish to rise to the pinnacle of your career. If you engage in unwholesome practices and get caught, you will suffer the dire consequences alone. You will not see the devil that people usually blame for their shortcomings,” Professor Lale further warned the staff.
“Integrity is the quality of being honest and exhibiting strong moral principles that keep you in good standing professionally and in the larger society. We are talking about staff that are stable, upright, decent, truthful, trustworthy and of high moral probity in their daily engagements. No matter how brilliant they may be, people without character and a high dose of moral rectitude do not go far in their public or private lives,” he admonished them.   
“As Vice-Chancellor, my success depends on the efficient performance of your individual duty schedules. If you assist the system to grow, we will all grow together. Don’t be mistaken, Management is aware of the contributions of each staff of the University and so we cannot post staff with questionable characters to very sensitive Units of the University. How would you feel that once your name is mentioned, there is strong objection about you being posted to a particular Unit? Be rest assured that once that happens, you are on your way out of the University because of the moral question mark on your integrity quotient,” the Vice-Chancellor added, promising to give the Admissions Office a facelift by making provision for a befitting complex for the staff.
He charged the old staff to cooperate with the new Admissions Officer and other staff that were recently redeployed to the Unit for it to continue to discharge its duties in an efficient manner.
In her introductory remarks, the Registrar, Mrs. Dorcas Otto, described the Admissions Office as a critical Unit of the Registry Department that related directly to students and their parents on admission matters. She told the Vice-Chancellor that the Unit had recorded much improvement away from when a few bad eggs engaged in unwholesome activities that tended to undermine its functions.
“Time there was when we had problems with our admission documentation processes. I can confirm to the Vice-Chancellor and other stakeholders in the affairs of the University that we have come a long way from that era with the new online processing of admissions which started about four years ago. This is a clearing house for all admission processes. We need to properly accommodate the Admissions Office to provide it with an enabling environment to give of its best to students. We also want to introduce admission booking for students to ensure efficiency and reduce overcrowding in the Unit during admission exercises. The booking system has worked so well at the Health Centre when students undergo their medical examinations. We want to replicate it in the Admissions Office to reduce the pressure staff face in the registration of students,” the Registrar said.
She explained that the Unit also served as the Secretariat of the Committee of Provost and Deans, directing the new Admissions Officer to immediately brace up to the challenge of ensuring that previous Minutes of CPD meetings were updated and presented at the next gathering of the body.
Mrs. Otto, who thanked the Vice-Chancellor for taking time out to visit the Admissions Office, further tasked the staff to be meticulous in discharging their assignments.
 “In dealing with the public, you must be polite and courteous, calm, clean and always be on the right path. Students who secure admission through this Office are here primarily to study, graduate and become useful members of society and proud alumni of the University; so we need to assist them to actualise their vision without subjecting them to undue stress,” she said.
Earlier in his brief, the newly redeployed Admissions Officer, Mr. Goodnews Ijah, said he was still studying the files left behind by his predecessor and would brief the Registrar and Vice-Chancellor of his findings in due course.
“I am aware that the Merit List has been published and that what is left is the Supplementary Admission List. I will come to the office to brief you on what I met on ground and how we intend to move forward in the discharge of our duties,” Mr. Ijah said.
Also on the entourage of the Vice-Chancellor were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Hakeem Fawehinmi, Deputy Registrar (Information), Williams Wodi and Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Kingsley Wogwu.

 

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