Friday, September 18, 2015 2:54 pm
The Nigeria LNG, under its University Support Programme (USP), has committed over N1.5billion to support six universities in Nigeria to build and equip world-class science and engineering laboratories. This was revealed today by its General Manager, External Relations, Dr Kudo Eresia-Eke, when he visited TheNEWS/PM News corporate headquarters in Lagos. He responded to a question about why Literature does better in Nigeria LNG’s sponsorship than the sciences. He explained that this is probably because of the low level of science infrastructure in educational institutions in Nigeria, a situation that called for his company’s intervention.
One of the beneficiaries of the USP is, according to him, the University of Port Harcourt where NLNG is specifically spending N340million to build and equip a sophisticated and unique engineering laboratory – christened “The NLNG Centre for Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Engineering”. The other benefitting universities are: Universities of Maiduguri, Nigeria (Nsukka), Ibadan, Ilorin, and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He revealed that by December, that of the University of Ibadan should be ready. Early this year and upon the request of the Rivers State Government, Nigeria LNG committed N4.5billion to build a world-class Model Secondary School in Bonny.
Nigeria LNG Limited has, according to the GM, also invested heavily in vocational training. It established and commissioned the Bonny Vocational Centre as far back as 2006 to impact youth of especially the primary host community, Bonny. “As at today the London City and Guilds certified centre has graduated over 2,400 students from Rivers State, most of who are gainfully employed in different sectors of the economy. To achieve this, Nigeria LNG has spent N3billion on the centre so far, and is planning to spend another N5billion for the upgrade of the centre so it can train even more students at a time, as the demand for vocational skills in the economy grows,” he added.
“Clearly education is at the heart of our Corporate Social Responsibility CSR) activities, focused majorly on our host communities, and indeed host state, Rivers. In fact 95% of our spending on CSR is in Rivers State, of course highly skewed towards Bonny, where we have spent over N20billion for the development of infrastructure and other projects. It is also worthy of mention that the Rivers State Government itself enjoys tax payment of N6billion every year,” he added, re-echoing what he said at the company’s postgraduate scholarship award ceremony held in Port Harcourt on Thursday 17 September.
Still demonstrating Nigeria LNG’s commitment to education, the GM said his company has “through the Nigeria Prize for Science and the Nigeria Prize for Literature (each worth $100,000 in prize money and instituted in 2004) stimulated, encouraged and promoted creative writing and science in Nigeria. The Nigeria Prize for Literature for instance is today acknowledged as the biggest and finest on the African continent.”
He spoke also on why Nigeria LNG relocated its headquarters to Port Harcourt, saying “that is our home because it is only fair to be where we have our raw materials, our industry and general operational environment, especially when the host community, Bonny, is not hostile.”
He seized the opportunity to also comment on the controversy surrounding the building of the $1.5 billion dockyard project in Badagry, Lagos, saying that it does not belong to Nigeria LNG and that those in charge had already made that clear. That was in reference to what the Chairman, Badagry Ship Repair and Maritime Engineering Company (BSMEC); Dr. Taiwo Afolabi said earlier in the media that the dockyard project is not Nigeria LNG’s.
Afolabi, who doubles as chairman of a participating company that formed the consortium comprising Sifax Logistics and Marine Services Limited, responded thus: “BSMEC is the sole owner of the Badagry Dry Dock Project and no one else. BSMEC is made up of five different successful Nigerian companies who came together as core investors to form Badagry Ship Repair and Maritime Engineering Company, which is a joint venture between Sifax Logistics and Marine Services Limited, Energy Nature Limited, GMT Energy Services Limited, Japaul Oil and Maritime Services plc, and SIVC Infrastructure DMCC (Sahara Group Limited). Nigeria LNG is not a part of the consortium and is not an investor in the construction of the dry dock project.”