Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson at the weekend approved the award of N6.1billion contracts at the State owned Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island and charged the Institution on alternative sources of revenue, noting that it’s over N6billion annual recurrent expenditure is not sustainable.
The Governor also disclosed that payment of bursary allowances would commence by June this year, attributing the delay to scholarship awards to post graduate students.
Speaking during his fact finding visit aimed at having first hand information about the challenges and prospects of the institution, the Governor stressed the need for the institution to prioritize its needs.
He also tasked the NDU officials to explore the frontiers of knowledge by developing a robust consultancy department as one of the options of revenue generation to make the university financially autonomous.
Describing education, as the “most compelling need of the State, Governor Dickson said the award of N6 billion worth of contracts for the execution of capital projects in the next two months” was to enhance educational advancement of the NDU, describing the contract as “the single most-biggest investment that has been made in so many years.”
Underscoring the need for the downward review of the institution’s recurrent expenditure of N500m monthly, the Governor noted that the inspection of projects and facilities at the university has given him an insight into the challenges and prospects of the educational facility.
According to him, “This University is the only state-owned university that has a recurrent expenditure that is higher than any other state university. Available records show that your Government spends close to N500 million every month on payment of salaries and sundry entitlements. Now, I have told your Vice Chancellor and the Governing Council that that is not sustainable.
“What is the students population for which the State Government is spending N6 billion every year, that is outside investments on infrastructure. I am aware that the responsibility entrusted on me at this point in our history to bring about restoration means that we must take decisions that are right and fair even when they are sometimes unpleasant.
“I like to appeal to your sense of commitment and patriotism on this journey. I am charging the university authorities working with our team to re-order your priorities, so that we can have some funds for capital development, because we want this university to be one of the best in Nigeria and the world.”
Soliciting the cooperation of members of the NDU to take the university to the next level, the Governor said education was the topmost priority of his administration beyond infrastructural development as any investment made in manpower development was an enduring one.
On encroachment on the university’s land, he advised private developers to steer clear of the area, noting that those who have already encroached would be evicted.
He however directed the university’s officials to liaise with Government’s team to ensure the acquisition of completed structures and compensation paid to the owners.
Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Humphrey Ogoni, said the university was embarking on some projects geared towards generating revenue, which include; water project, consultancy services, livestock farming among others.