The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has stated that the Tertiary Institutions Road intervention Programme of the ministry has strengthened Federal Government’s job creation initiatives.
The Minister spoke during the inauguration and hand over of 1.62km internal road constructed by the ministry to the management of the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) at Isiuwa in Edo.
The Director of Press and Public Relations, FMWH, Mrs Boade Akinola, made this known in a statement to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.
Fashola disclosed that the project created job opportunities for over 57 Nigerians, adding strength to government’s job creation initiatives.
The minister noted that the infrastructure gap was steadily being bridged in tertiary institutions.
The minister, who was represented by the Federal Controller of Works, Edo state, Mr Ademola Aransiola, said the road was part of the additional internal roads of tertiary institutions under the intervention programme of the Ministry.
He explained that there were 43 of such roads spread across tertiary institutions in the country, of which 29 had been completed.
“17 were handed over last year, the rest including this, are being handed over simultaneously. While it is true that a lot of work needs to be done in many sectors of our national life including education, the present government was bracing up to get the work done,” he said.
Similarly, the minister explained that the aim of the project was to improve the environment of tertiary institutions.
According to him, the quality of education will be impacted by the quality of infrastructure on the learning environment and further enhance academic activities.
He then urged the institute’s authority and researchers to ensure the road was properly utilized and maintained.
Speaking earlier, the Acting Executive Director of NIFOR, Dr Celestine Ikuenobe, expressed gratitude to the minister who had ensured approval and completion of the main access road of the Institute.
Ikuenobe said he was happy about the government’s intervention because the institute had borne the burden of ageing and collapsing infrastructure long enough to need total intervention.
Before the intervention, he said the main access road was in a total disrepair which negatively impacted service delivery to palms industry but the repairs have eased transportation for both staff and other road users.
Also a representative of the Governing Board of the Institute, Chief Wale Arowomole thanked the President and the minister for the laudable initiative and further requested for the rehabilitation of other road networks within the Institute.
A community leader, the Okao of Isiuwa, Chief Ovenseri Aibueku, expressed joy over the completion of the main access road.
He said he saw the intervention as a resurgence of the good old days of the institute; ‘the institute was back to its former status being a beehive of activities’.
It was reported that the NIOPR is one of the foremost agricultural research institutions established in Nigeria in 1939.
It plays a major role in the research and development of crops like oil palm, coconut palm, date palm, raffia palm and Shea tree.
This role is prominent and very necessary in the diversification and growth of the Nigerian economy.