The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), says it is consolidating its existing partnerships with universities in the United Kingdom to ensure that the commission gets more value for its human capital development programmes.
Speaking after a five-day working visit to some universities in the United Kingdom where NDDC scholars are undergoing post-graduate studies, acting managing director, Professor Nelson Brambaifa, said “it was important to find out the challenges scholars are facing in their various institutions in order to resolve them.’’
Professor Brambaifa said the visit afforded the team, including the acting executive director, finance and administration, Dr Chris Oyirinda Amadi and directors of the commission, “the opportunity to explore the prospects of deepening the relationships with foreign institutions, to ensure we take advantage of other mutually beneficial programmes.”
He said that the NDDC delegation interacted with the scholars benefiting from commission’s foreign post graduate scholarship scheme in the University of Coventry, University of Derby, University of Salford, University of Birmingham, University of Hertfordshire and University of Huddersfield.
The NDDC boss said his team had a fruitful meeting with officials of the University of Coventry, which included two Deputy Vice Chancellors, Dr. David Pilsbury and Prof. Richard Dashwood and a staff of the International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship, Prof. Gideon Mass.
He stated that the two parties identified four major areas for further collaboration. According to him, there was an agreement for the establishment of specific Master’s level scholarships for best graduating students from universities in the Niger Delta region. Another, he said, was to establish a Doctoral Training Centre.
“The third area is to establish a platform for the promotion of innovation and enterprise. The fourth is to establish an e-library system which will allow researchers and scholars from the Niger Delta region to have access to materials published from top journals and electronic databases.
“The meeting also agreed to initiate an exchange programme between the University of Coventry and select universities based in the Niger Delta region. We are determined to ensure that any outstanding issues with all our scholars and host institutions are comprehensively resolved,” he added.
The NDDC boss stated that the commission was very serious with its human capital development programmes, noting that it was pursuing improved investments in the educational sector as part of plans to ensure that the youths get the right employment.
At the University of Salford in Manchester, the University management led by Kaffo Yusuff thanked the NDDC delegation for the visit. He said the university was ready to partner with the commission to offer additional scholarships and offer fee reduction to deserving students.
Speaking during an interactive session with the scholars, Dr. Amadi, assured the students that all their complaints would be addressed.
He said: “The delays that have been experienced in receiving payments is because of the recent changes in the management of the commission. We are new and certain steps had to be taken before we could resume our duties.
“However, let me assure you that we will honour all our commitments as all outstanding obligations will be fully cleared in the next twenty-one days.”
Meanwhile, Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has promised that the federal government will expand the current N-Power programme.
Osinbajo made the promise at the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium held on Thursday, March 29, to celebrate the 67th birthday of the former Lagos state governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The vice president also promised that the Next Level plans of the government would to exciting, though a bit challenging.