Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (EEPNL) in Production Sharing Contract with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC recently donated buses and geosciences equipment to six Nigerian universities as part of the EEPNL sponsored University Partnering Programme (UPP). The University Partnering Programme funds geological fieldwork and analysis in Nigerian universities for a three-year period as a means of improving geoscience education in Nigeria and help shore up the nation’s map archives.
Speaking at the donation ceremony, Chikwendu Edoziem, General Manager EEPNL noted that the Nigerian educational system had faced several challenges over the years and restated EEPNL’s commitment to the long term improvement of geosciences education in Nigeria.
The universities being enrolled under the UPP this year are: Akwa Ibom State University, Mkpat Enin, Anambra State University, Uli, University of Jos, Federal University of Technology, Akure, University of Ilorin, and Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun. Each of these universities received a brand new Toyota Hiace bus, a cheque of N1.365 million for lecturers’ field allowances and various field work equipment including clinometers, GPS devices, magnifiers and geological hammers.
The UPP was initiated in 2007, with six universities under the pilot program - Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Delta State University Abraka, University of Ibadan, Unversity of Benin, University of Calabar and Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka. The programme expanded in 2011 with the addition of two more universities - Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife and University of Nigeria Nsukka, which are still enrolled under the UPP. This year, the original six universities exited the program in order for the six new universities to be enrolled.
As a byproduct of the field trips embarked on by the students and teachers, Universities enrolled under the UPP are required to prepare a map of areas in their proximity which will be published by the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency. Till date, under the UPP programme sponsored by EEPNL, four maps have been published by NGSA while 10 maps are currently being drafted, with another four under review. Till date, the amount spent on the UPP is over N500, 000,000 (five hundred million naira only).
Mr. Edoziem explained that it was not enough to just say that EEPNL places a very high priority on education and capacity building in Nigeria; “we have to back up our words with our actions. And the maps produced under the UPP speak for us. We will continue to support programmes like this that build and sustain opportunities for youths in the country”, he said.
Speaking on behalf of the receiving universities, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Federal University of Technology Akure, Professor Tolulope Akinbogun, noted that the impact of the assistance to the universities could not be over emphasized, and that geoscience students who benefited from the training platform of the UPP would be able to compete globally with their peers from any part of the world.
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