FG inaugurates 2.1km road at NINLAN
The Federal Government Thursday inaugurated and handed over the 2.1- kilometer road network at the National Institute of Nigerian Languages (NINLAN), Aba to the management.
In an address at the brief ceremony, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that the project brought to 29, the number of internal roads built and handed over to the managements of some nation’s tertiary institutions.
Fashola, represented by the Federal Controller of Works in Abia, Mr Bede Obioha, said the federal government was intervening in 43 roads in tertiary institutions in the country.
He said that two of the projects were sited in Abia and that the second, measuring one kilometer at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, was nearing completion.
“The gap in our infrastructure needs is steadily being bridged by a gradual process of repairs, renewal and construction on major highways and it has reached schools.
“It is undebatable that the quality of education will be impacted by the quality of infrastructure and the learning environment,” he said.
He said that the development has engendered great joy and enthusiasm among the students of the benefitting institutions.
The minister described the government’s initiative as “an investment in education” and urged school managements to ensure proper use of the infrastructure.
He further said that the project also helped to create jobs for 40 youths, who were engaged during its construction.
The Executive Director of NINLAN, Prof. Obiajulu Emejulu, said the government’s intervention, which he described as “unprecedented”, had raised the profile of the institute.
“This brand new road network is now complementing our brand new National Certificate of Education programmes and giving a sense of belonging to both the students and workers,” Emejulu said.
He said that the institute had suffered “untold marginalisation” since its inception 28 years ago.
According to him, NINLAN is not covered by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), hence has not benefitted from its intervention.
He said that although the institution was covered by the defunct Education Trust Fund, it was barred by the law establishing TETFund, when it regained its autonomy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
“Meanwhile, the federal government’s subvention since the return of our autonomy in 2015 has been abysmally poor and inadequate to upgrade the institute’s infrastructure.
Emejulu appealed to the minister to assist the institute to tackle the huge erosion menace ravaging its 209.5 hectres of land by extending the road project by 400 metres.
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, represented by his Deputy, Ude Oko-Chukwu, lauded federal government’s “sincer commitment toward addressing the infrastructure deficit in the country”.
Ikpeazu, however, urged the ministry to expedite work on the rehabilitation of some federal highways in Abia, including the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road, Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road, Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway, among others.
He described the roads as critical to the economic development of the state, adding that their completion would help to alleviate the plight of commuters and other road users.
Eze Wilson Onwunali, the Traditional Ruler of Akumimo Autonomous Community, one of NINLAN’s host communities, who spoke on behalf of his countrrparts, lauded the federal government’s intervention in the institute’s internal roads.
Onwunali expressed concern that federal government had yet to fully discharge the compensation to the host communities, in terms of employment and scholarships for their youths.