Education Minister Commissions UniPort W'Bank Building, As NUC Commends Centre By Otikor Samuel

Following the completion of the building project for the World Bank Africa Centre of Excellence for Oilfield Chemicals Research (ACE-CEFOR), the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has commissioned the building furnished with a state-of-the-art equipment at the IPS Park, UniPort, with a charge to the ACE leadership to break more grounds.

Commissioning the building which houses offices, lecture and conference halls, a modern language laboratory, video conferencing facilities, and e-library with full Internet access on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, the Minister, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Ababukar Rasheed, showered encomiums on the University for emerging as the best Centre among the 10 benefitting Nigerian universities.

“This Centre, so far from our record in the NUC and the World Bank, is the most successful Centre. We commend the Centre for closely working with the World Bank, NUC, the University Management and the other universities. The feat recorded by this Centre attests to the fact that it is closely working with the Management of the University in the discharge of its mandate,” representative of the Minister of Education observed.

The Executive Secretary, who further emphasised the need to sustain the excellent relationship between benefitting universities in the production of professionals through research and the application of knowledge for the growth of society, commended the World Bank for supporting quality education through targeted interventions such as the ACE initiative.

Enumerating the four pillars of economic growth as laid down by the World Bank, Professor Rasheed, advocated creation of a highly educated and skilled population, with efficient innovation system and information technology. He charged staff of the University to continue to give of their best to the growth of the educational sector in the country and beyond.

In his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, expressed joy that the University was one of the 10 universities that benefitted from the World Bank grant, noting that the grant had afforded the University a rare opportunity to associate with the prestigious Bank.

“I am very pleased to inform our benefactor, the World Bank, that the Centre has made giant strides within the short period of its establishment. It is a rare privilege to be associated with the World Bank and we take such association very seriously. We are extremely grateful for being adjudged worthy of this partnership that has produced incredible results. The rare privilege to use the famous and globally recognizable logo of the World Bank is something we will cherish for a long time to come,” the Vice-Chancellor said.

Professor Lale, who also noted that the building which was completed by the World Bank was initiated by the founder and Executive Chairman of Afren Energy Resources Ltd., Dr. Egbert Imomoh. He observed that the centre of excellence model in the University of Port Harcourt was now replicated in other sister centres in and outside Nigeria.

Speaking on behalf of the benefactor, World Bank's Co-Task Team Leader for the ACE project in Nigeria, Aisha Mohammed, disclosed that the Bank provided the grant for the centres as proof of the importance it placed on promoting quality education in Africa. She described the UniPort Centre of Excellence as a flagship project that had gained high international visibility and local attention from key partners, industry players and other strategic stakeholders.

“We commend the Centres of Excellence for the results achieved so far, the strong progress on student enrolment, the quality of education through international accreditation, the excellence in applied research, the strong university-industry linkages and the relevance through revenue generation,” the Co-Task Team Leader stated.

In his institutional profile, the Centre Leader, Professor Ogbonna Joel, disclosed that a total of 130 candidates enrolled in the Doctorate programme with 39 of them already graduated, while 293 students made it through the Master of Science degree programme.

“A total number of 383 participants took part in short courses and internship programmes mounted by the Centre. More than 200 participants had international certification as Environmental Professionals with the National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP) in USA. The Centre received national accreditation from the National Universities Commission (NUC) for 12 of its Postgraduate programmes coordinated by the ACE-CEFOR.

“The Centre also carried out an international gap analysis in the Petroleum and Gas Engineering programmes in June 2017. More than 100 papers arising from research work of students from the Centre have been successfully published in reputable journals with a number of patents to show for our effort in quality research. We also attracted more than 60 experts both from the academia and industry as resource persons,” the Centre Leader further disclosed.

Others who spoke at the commissioning ceremony included 5th and 7th Vice-Chancellors of the University, Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs and Professor Joseph Ajienka, including the Executive Director in charge of Sustainable Development, TOTAL E&P, Engineer Vincent Nnadi. The event attracted dignitaries and guests from the academia, industry and government parastatals, at which music maestro, Precious Omuku and the Fused Ensemble provided heart-lifting rendition.

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