The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has pledged to collaborate with the Niger Delta University, NDU, Amassoma in Bayelsa State, to promote research that will address peculiar health and environmental challenges in the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, made the promise during a courtesy visit by a delegation from the university at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
He said: “We want to collaborate with the NDU in the area of research and I challenge the university to go into research that will focus on ecological challenges, food production and herbal medicine.”
He stated: “Our work at the NDDC goes beyond building roads and bridges; we are also concerned about manpower development which is the forte of universities. Our interventions are not limited to building physical infrastructure. The research from universities is equally important as we have challenges in the area of erosion and flooding. Universities should help us to find solutions that will endure. Research from universities should give us the comprehensive solutions we need.
“We are prepared to collaborate with universities to provide solutions to the problems facing the region. Let us invest in the area of research to help us to appropriately intervene in the lives of our people.”
Ogbuku assured that the NDDC was ready to provide the needed support to universities in the region to prioritise research that seeks to provide solutions to issues plaguing the society.
He told the NDU Vice Chancellor that the NDDC Executive Director Projects, Sir Victor Antai, would lead a team on a site visit to the university to articulate their needs, noting that they recently benefited from the “Operation Light up the Niger Delta Programme” of the Commission.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Allen Agih, commended the efforts of the NDDC in building the capacity of universities in the Niger Delta region and described the NDU as a manpower development centre for the region.
He said: “We thank the NDDC management for the numerous projects executed in the university, including the on-going solar-powered street light project that has improved security and night life within the campus.”
“We are here to seek partnership with the commission in different areas, notably, in the areas of research in herbal medicine and food security. We have a department of herbal medicine, which when fully harnessed, with your collaboration, will provide skills, generate employment opportunities and improve healthcare in the region.”
Agih remarked that collaboration with the NDDC was imperative, given the lean resources available to the university to pursue its objective of positively impacting the Niger Delta region.
The Vice-Chancellor also appealed for assistance in setting up an Information and Communication Technology, ICT, centre and in providing accommodation for lecturers in the university campus, lamenting: “all our lecturers live outside the university.”