…Pleads for more funding
By Kelechukwu Iruoma
MANAGEMENT of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, FUPRe, Effurun, has said that the institution has the potentials to solve Nigeria’s fuel crisis, but noted that lack of funds was destroying the institution’s vision of being one of the best universities in the world.
The institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Akaehomen Ibhadode, who said this when he and his team paid a courtesy visit to Vanguard headquarters in Lagos, however, called on the Federal Government to turn its attention to the institution to help solve the infrastructure and other funding challenges limiting its advancement.
He said: “As a petroleum university, we have a stake in solving this problem (petrol crisis). We have been toying with the idea of mini refineries and you find out that even now, we have shortage of petroleum products. With our little resources, we have been able to come up with designs and at this point, we are looking for partnership and sponsorship from government or the private sector to actualise the designs in physical form.”
He noted that the institution was trying to work with the marginal field operators, but because of financial challenges, the institution has not been able to come up with something workable. “We want to be challenged as a petroleum university to build mini refineries and we are ready for that, and if we are able to create mini refineries, we can replicate it all over the country and beyond, especially in Africa. It will create employment and change the economic face of the country.”
FUPRE, a specialised petroleum university, was established by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007 to train high level manpower for the oil and gas industry, with a take-off grant of N500 million. Since then, no other grant has been given to the institution.
He said other new universities receive N6 billion take-off grant. “Unfortunately, not enough resources are put in place to achieve that mandate. It’s the first petroleum university in Africa and the sixth in the world. We need to draw the attention of the government that set it up as the proprietor and the sector (education), that we are operating in a situation where we can be of value to the industry (petroleum) and also to the nation,” he added.
Ibhadode said that as giant of Africa and showing by Nigeria’s resources in terms of population and landmass, Nigeria has everything. “These are things that can make us really tick. Attention has to be drawn to the university. We can draw resources from the government that will be able to make us to achieve more. Unfortunately, that has not been so. It is after 10 years of establishing the university that we now have an act which was signed by the National Assembly and signed into law last year by the president.
“Every university is shouting we do not have money but we want to go beyond that. What we want to establish is that we have potentials that we can deploy to be able to leverage on them and attract more resources. We want to announce to the world that we have done quite a couple of things and as a specialised university, we can commercialise or partner with organisations to be able to bring solution to the oil industry and the allied industries such that we make life better for Nigerians.”
He said that the institution is looking for partnership and sponsorship from government or the private sector to be able to actualise the design of the refineries in the physical form, including production and drilling platforms. “FUPRE is a specialized university with some special funding for infrastructural development and research purposes.”