The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will spend N2 billion Naira for the renovation of schools in the Niger Delta region as provided for in its 2017 budget.
This was made known by the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, when members of the executive of the Regina Coeli College, Essene, Old Boys Association, paid him a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
Mr Ekere assured the Old Boys Association that their alma mater would benefit from the renovation exercise. He regretted that the school which used to be a center of excellence in education was now saddled with dilapidated infrastructure. Unfortunately, he said, this was the lot of many schools in the Niger Delta region.
He stated: “This is what has made NDDC to be intervening actively in the renovation of schools. This year we have made a provision of N2 billion Naira for the renovations of schools in the region. We have an extra N1billion for schools in Akwa ibom State and some of this will definitely be extended to Regina Coeli College.”
The NDDC boss noted that education was the key to the development of the society, adding that it was also the tool that could be used to fight insecurity. He said: “If you educate the minds of the people, and educate the minds of the youths, they will know that violence is not an option. They will concentrate and channel their energies and resources towards sustainable livelihoods rather than engage in violence and criminality.”
Mr Ekere said that the NDDC was determined to support education at all levels, adding: “We know that the State governments in the region are doing a lot in the education sector, but being an interventionist agency, we will see where gaps exist and fill them.”
He assured that the Commission would respond to the needs of the schools where necessary, stating that NDDC was ready to work with the old boys of the school to restore the dilapidated facilities.
The President of the Old Boys Association, Chief Clement Isok, said that they were eager and desirous to restore the college to its former glory as one of the elite secondary schools in Nigeria.
According to him, the school was once “the toast of the 60s and 70s with educational and infrastructural facilities that were second to none and was the undisputed choice of parents nationwide for the training of their prized wards.”
Chief Isok lamented: “The College is currently bedeviled with an avalanche of problems. For instance, the College has no perimeter fence, thereby exposing the students and staff to serious security threats. The main entrance road to the College and internal roads are being washed off by erosion and have become inaccessible. The Academic block, Chapel, dormitories and staff quarters have all deteriorated to various stages of disrepair. More pathetic is the fact that the College Assembly/Dining Hall which had been the pride of the students has gradually degenerated into a prison-like cafeteria with blown off roof.”