By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”PEOPLES Redemption Party (PRP) governorship aspirant in the 2007 governorship elections in Delta State, Engineer Emmanuel Igbini, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the spending of a whoppingÂ N17 billion by the Petroleum Development Trust Fund on the upgrading of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, near Warri in Delta State.
His words: â€œIn view of the recent announcement by Petroleum Technology and Development Fund (PTDF) that it is to spend additional N10 billion to complete the ongoing upgrade of facilities at the PTI, Effurun, having allegedly spent over seventeen billion naira, it has become very expedient and patriotic to call on the EFCC to commence immediate investigation on the billions of naira so far said to have been spent vis-Ã -vis the actual project upgrade on ground at the instituteâ€.
Igbini stated: â€œWith professional analysis of the works so far carried out on the upgrade (building of new facilities and renovation of existing ones) at the institute, there are very convincing facts to believe that high level of corruption and diversion of funds are taking place in the name of this upgradeâ€.
â€œMajor sections of the said renovation jobs have left the exiting facilities worse than they were. The library roofs that were replaced are now worse than they were as serious leakages are noticed each time it rains posing threats to lives through contacts with electric cables. In addition, valuable research books are being destroyed.
â€Several other works within the library and other existing facilities are also highly defective and the amount allegedly spent on the upgrade, a far cryâ€, he stated.
According to him, â€œThe administrative office extension now under construction is highly structurally substandard and a death-trap in near future. Other ongoing facilities under construction are highly substandard compared to existing standards and facilities. Some of these new facilities are so compacted that one wonders if safety and the need for emergency evacuations of staff and students were ever consideredâ€.
â€Where therefore is the justification for the approval of additional funds other than the fact that the so called PTI upgrade has now become a continued convenient conduct pipe for the looting of our nationâ€™s oil revenue and deliberate and determined effort by a few unpatriotic Nigerian cabals in Abuja to bring an end to the existence of Nigeriaâ€™s only legally established autonomous Petroleum Training and Research Institute, based in Effurun in 1973?
â€It is also evil, provocative and unpatriotic for a â€œdemocraticâ€ Federal Government and her agency, PTDF, to continue to insist that PTI, though initially planned for training of Nigerians and foreigners for low and middle manpower for the Nigeriaâ€™sÂ Petroleum Industry must retain and remain on that status even after over 39 years of its establishment and successful training of Nigerians, many of whom are now expatriates staff in other countries oil and gas industries and have risen to top management staff of Nigeriaâ€™s multinational and indigenous oil and gas companiesâ€, he asserted.