By Etuka Sunday
Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has handed over its N17 billion newly constructed oil and gas Polytechnic in Ekowe, Bayelsa State.
The project which was started in 2006 has been completed with new facilities to bridge the skill gap in the oil and gas sector.
Speaking during the handover ceremony at the NNPC Towers, Abuja, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu expressed satisfaction with PTDF over the beautiful edifice, saying that the Polytechnic would actually bridge the skill gap in the sector.
“I am very impressed with this efforts put together by PTDF which is an agency of this ministry and its ability to steward this kind of contract to fruition. A lot of this kind of contract begins and just never ends. The fact that today we can assemble and celebrate the deliverable of this magnificent edifice is something to behold and thankful for. This project is significant because it will cover the skill gap in the sector…through training research and knowledge transfer,” he said.
Dr. Kachikwu said, the project was a clear demonstration of the federal government’s resolve to prioritise oil and gas sector and to ensure quality education.
In the area of access road, the Minister assures that Bayelsa state government and federal government would put hands together to address the challenge.
Speaking earlier, the Acting Executive Secretary of PTDF, Malam Ahmad Aminu said, the project took off in 2006 but was suspended due to some issues.
He said, the school is a world class Polytechnic that would help to train middle level manpower in the sector, therefore, pledged the Fund’s commitment to ensure proper utilization of the facility.
”The Polytechnic in Ekewe is a world class polytechnic and PTDF would continue to partner with the management of the institute to ensure that the facility provided is well utilised.”
Also speaking, the representative of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs Folasade Essan, said it was the first time an agency was involved in the provision of infrastructure in any higher institution in the country.
” This is the first polytechnic of oil and gas in the country that will function effectively in the sector.
” This construction is fully sponsored by the PTDF, we thank you and we will like you to do more, especially with the creation of the access road to help attract the kind of students needed,” she said.
While assuring that the ministry would ensure full accreditation of Programmes at the Polytechnic, she called on the federal government to provide adequate security in the school to avoid kidnapping of the students.
Meanwhile, the Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu disclosed that the sector has lost over 600, 000 barrels of crude oil to persistent attacks on the pipelines by militants in the last two months.
Dr. Kachikwu therefore, appealed to the Militants to sheath their swords and daggers to give peace a chance.
“My first appeal will be to my brothers who are engaged in these acts of protest to sheath their swords and daggers and come back to the table so that we can have a conversation.
He said the federal government was committed to intense dialogue, consequently, may suspend military operation in the area for a week or two.
“Probably, we will suspend the operation of the military in the region for a week or two for individuals in the creeks to converge for the dialogue,’’ he said.