A number of equipment such as 30 KVA generating set, inverters, a Toyota Hiace minibus, digital cameras, field equipment among other facilities, valued at N50 million, which were recently donated to the Geology Department of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria by Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, have been commissioned.
The assistance was made under the company’s Universities Partnering Programme.
Formally receiving the donations on behalf of the University, the Vice,.Chancellor, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha, expressed his sincere appreciation for the concern ESSO had shown to the development of education in Nigeria by embarking on the donation. “The investment you have made to the university is highly commendable. I commend your foresight and commitment to partner with the university in developing the study of Geology in ABU; and in supporting education in Nigeria in general” he said. He pledged that the university would efficiently manage the facilities.
Responding on behalf of the donor, Mrs. Gloria Essien-Danner, Executive Director, Public and Government Affairs for Esso, said the company strongly believes in giving back to the society in which it operates. She praised the Ahmadu Bello University for emerging the first tertiary institution to prepare a high-quality map of areas of the country close to it; which was one of the prerequisites for receiving the ESSO grant. She pointed out that the last time a map project of similar nature was embarked on was in 1964.
“It gladdens my heart to formally commission this project. Prospecting for oil is directly related to courses like Geology. We decided to embark on this project because we do not want our children to be at a disadvantage when they meet with students from other countries”, remarked Mrs. Essien-Danner. She listed the other beneficiary tertiary institutions under the UPP scheme as Delta State University, Abraka; Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; University of Benin, Benin City; University of Calabar, Calabar and University of Ibadan, Ibadan. Each university received monetary grants and equipment worth N50 million.
Esso further presented a cheque of one million and fifty thousand naira to ABU’s Geology Department to boost lecturers’ field allowances.
The UPP is aimed at funding geological field work programme in selected Nigerian Universities
as a means of improving the quality of graduates from Nigerian Universities.
Expatiating on the scope of the programme, the UPP Coordinator, Dr. Lambert-Aikhionbare, stated that the programme was aimed at boosting the study of Geology in Nigeria by enhancing the knowledge of lecturers and students. In the long run, he expects that the line of teachings of the lecturers who benefit from the training would be similar. Dr. Aikhionbare further recommended that every Geology students should receive a minimum of 100 days of field training.
“What Esso and Mobil are looking for is that the Ahmadu Bello University and other universities chosen for this project will train students adequately enough so that they can be employed by organizations like Mobil and ESSO and contribute their quota to Nigeria” Dr. Aikhionbare further stated.
Speaking on behalf of Professor Siyan Malomo, the Director-General of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Mr. P. O. Oluyide, his representative and Special Adviser on Map Production, stated that the consequence of the UPP was “to ignite the enthusiasm in field and laboratory studies which had hitherto lost steam in some of the Nigerian universities.” He predicted that new, quality graduates and several geological maps, will hit the market in the near future.