NNPCL, partners unveil Bauchi centre to advance IT education

The Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), has donated an ultramodern Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centre to the Sa’adu Zungur University, Bauchi.

The project was being implemented in collaboration with the NNPCL, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), TotalEnergies, Nigeria Agip Oil Company, and Offshore Lab. (TOL).

The ICT centre was sited at the university’s main campus at Gadau community in Itas-Gadau Local Government Area of Bauchi State.

Mr Bala Wunti, the Chief Upstream Investment Officer, NNPC Upstream Management Services (NUIMS), said the gesture was being executed under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), designed to advance IT education and human capital development to support oil exploration in the North-East region.

Wunti, who spoke during the inauguration of the centre, said CSR has been a hallmark of the NNPC-SPDC joint venture.

Represented by Sani Kabo, Head of Business Management Services, NUIMS, Wunti said the joint venture partnership had invested in impactful CSR initiatives for many years across the country.

“Today; the joint venture is in Bauchi to celebrate the completion of a state-of-the-art ICT Centre at the Sa’adu Zungur University Bauchi, formally (Bauchi State University, Gadau). This is indeed no mean feat and a milestone worthy of celebration.

“Education has always been a cornerstone of societal development, and in today’s world, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an essential pillar that supports this foundation,” he said.

Wunti said the NNPC-NUIMS has rallied its partners to support host communities towards human capital development and talents that would aspire to be the future of the industry.

The project, he said, was a glimpse of the positive impact of the oil and gas industry on the fortunes of Nigeria.

According to Wunti, with the upcoming Kolmani Integrated Development Project, Bauchi and Gombe are set to become the first two states in northern Nigeria, to join the oil-producing states in the country.

Wunti lauded the management and staff of NUIMS and the NNPC-SPDC partners for their contributions towards the successful execution of the project.

While commending the Bauchi State Government, community leaders, the management of the university and host communities for their support, Wunti called for effective utilisation of the centre to achieve its objectives.

Also speaking, Dr Osagie Okunbor, the Managing Director, SPDC and Country Chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria, described the centre as “a very important social Investment project completed by SPDC JV in North-East region.”

Okunbor, who was represented by Mr Igo Weli, General Manager, Corporate Relations Shell Companies in Nigeria, said they had implemented live strengthening interventions aimed at improving the social and economic well-being of the people in the region.

The managing director listed some of the interventions to include unveiling of the Primary Healthcare Centre, Nangere in Yobe, and the completion of two live strengthening programmes to support displaced families in Gujba, Jere and Mafa in Borno and Yobe, respectively.

He said that all the projects had been completed and inaugurated early this year.

“The collaboration of joint venture partners and the Bauchi State University has resulted in the success of the project, which is a social investment project that demonstrates commitment toward improving access to quality education for every Nigerian,” he said.

According to Okunbor, the establishment of the centre has been driven by a vision to enhance educational infrastructure, support access to high demand IT skills and inspire a greater IT ecosystem in Bauchi state and the North-East region.

The two-floor ICT facility, he said, was designed to visually stimulate collaborative workspaces that foster an environment where the students engage in group work, brainstorming sessions, ideation meetings.

He added, “This promotes a collaborative work style essential for innovation teamwork.”

Other features of the facility included an independent water supply, 100 KVA power generator, a landscape, bicycle shed and cycling path.

“During its construction, we engaged the services of several local contractors, who played important roles in executing various scopes of work.

”They ranged from supplies, craftsmanship, medical services, and scaffolding. This is a testar quality of experience in our host communities,” he said.

Okunbor added that some 75 staff and students had been exposed to hands-on data science, embedded systems and hardware engineering, to grow in-house and ensure that the facility is put to good use as well as foster sustainable development.

He said, “It is our sincere hope that the facility will help to strengthen teaching and research at this university.”

According to him, SPDC and its partners are committed towards achieving sustainable development through viable education, shelter, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) intervention projects.

Gov. Bala Mohammed, who inaugurated the project, commended the gesture, adding that it would augment his administration’s IT education drive.

Mohammed said the state government had earmarked over N100 million in the 2024 budget to fast track implementation of ICT development projects.

The governor was represented by Tajuddeen Baba-Ma’aji, the Director-General, Bauchi State Bureau for ICT Development.

Also speaking, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Fatimah Tahir, commended the gesture, adding that it would improve the quality of learning and teaching in the institution. .

She promised to ensure the effective utilisation of the facility to advance IT education in the country.

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