The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has charged stakeholders in Ndokwa/Ukwuani ethnic nationality to close ranks to ensure the smooth take-off of the recently- approved Federal University of Medical and Health Sciences, Kwale, Delta State.
This is even as he revealed that the Federal Government would soon announce the management team of the institution.
Senator Omo-Agege stated this in Abuja while hosting a delegation from Ndokwa/Ukwuani ethnic nationality on a thank you visit for facilitating the establishment of the institution.
The delegation was led by a former member of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Mercy Almona-Isei.
The Delta Central lawmaker, who sponsored the bill establishing the Federal Polytechnic Orogun which has been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, explained that as part of the requirements by the National Universities Commission (NUC), the community is expected to donate 100 hectares of land to the Federal Government for the establishment of the institution without compensation.
Urging them to set aside their political differences, Omo-Agege said: “The only counsel I will give is this: it requires a lot of cooperation among the stakeholders of Ndokwa/Ukwuani ethnic nationality. I know a lot will be required of you. It requires cooperation and that will also include you providing land and you know being a federal institution, the NUC has their own requirements. They will need 100 hectares of land. Take this from me as the gospel: the Federal Government will not pay you a dime by way of compensation. So I don’t want anybody going to raise imaginary shrines and graves. You are going to provide 100 hectares of land without encumberances. If you don’t have that, it will inhibit this thing going forward.
“An implementation committee will be set up by the Minister of Education. And it will include officials from the NUC. They will come and inspect. And when they come, they will expect you to give to them 100 hectares of land free from all encumberances. And they are not paying a dime for it.
“In the interim, there is also the expectation that that there will be cooperation with the local authorities and the state government to provide a temporary site to commence activities before the construction of the permanent site”.
On the management team of the institution, Omo-Agege added: “As we speak, I expect that in the next couple of days, we should be receiving a formal announcement in writing on the approval from Mr President and most importantly on the appointment of a management team that will head the institution”.
He expressed profound appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, for their immense roles in approving the institution.
He also disclosed that the Federal University of Agriculture and Technology, Aboh Bill, sponsored by Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi (APC, Delta North) which has been passed by both legislative houses and transmitted to Mr President is also awaiting presidential assent.
The Deputy President of the Senate lamented the neglect of oil-bearing communities, noting that since host communities bear the burden of environmental degradation from the oil industry, it is only fair that all funds be channeled into the development of the affected areas.
While revealing that the idea to establish the Federal University of Medical of Medical and Health Sciences was mooted three years ago, he said he made a compelling case for the siting of the institution in Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency to the Federal Government.
His words: “About three years ago, the idea to establish this Federal University of Medical of Medical and Health Sciences, six of them across the six geopolitical zones, was mooted by the Federal Government. And for over two years I have been on the neck of Mr President quietly without making noise about it. And also on the neck of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, fighting that one must come to the South-South and the one coming to the South-South must come to Delta State and not just Delta State but the Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency.
“I got indication that the approval would come as far back as 10 months ago but unless and until released, we kept it under wraps. But I never allowed the Minister of Education to rest and I was on top of it to make sure that the approval he promised me was indeed secured from Mr President. And when necessary, he got me to go sit down with Mr President to ensure that the approval was intact.
“Now the President has given his approval. And the Minister made all of this happen. He has been fighting for us even with the limited time left but he is determined that before he leaves, not only will the approval be conveyed but the management of the institution will also be put in place”.
The Member representing Ughelli North-Ughelli South-Udu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Francis Waive, Chief of Staff to the DSP, Dr Otive Igbuzor were among personalities that joined the Deputy President of the Senate to receive the visitors.
Earlier, Hon. Almona-Isei lauded the DSP for facilitating the institution to the area.
She described the area as the most marginalized in the Niger Delta despite its huge contribution to state and federal coffers.
The proposed learning citadel, she added, would not only give the people a sense of belonging but also create more admission opportunities for admission seekers across the country.