From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NIIT), Zaria, announced on Monday that the institute has acquired 84 hectares of land from the Kaduna State Government for the establishment of a Jatropha plantation as an alternative source of fuel for the country.
The Institute indicated that it had also acquired another 40 hectares of land from Sabon Gari Local Government Area for the construction of additional workshops, ‘notably a driver development training centre.’
Presenting the institute’s scorecard under his leadership in the last 12 months, NIIT Director-General and Chief Executive, Dr Bayero Salih Farah, told reporters that the scheme is necessary to exploring the development of alternative sources of fuel in the country.
According to him, ‘the Institute under my stewardship has acquired 84 hectares of land
from the Kaduna State Government for the establishment of a Jatropha plantation, and another 40 hectares of land from Sabon Gari Local Government for the construction of additional workshops, notably a driver development training centre.
‘On the Jatropha plantation, as we all know, the country is looking for alternatives for fuel and in regard to that, we have identified the Jatropha plant as one key area we can explore.
‘For now, we are embarking on the plantation of this plant so that, if it is successful, we can expand it and extend it to private investors,’ he said.
Speaking further, Dr Farah said due to the ongoing expansion of the institute with the support of the Federal Government through the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, more personnel have been employed, with 16 staff members being sponsored abroad for Masters and PhD degrees in various fields of transportation and engineering.
‘We have other people we are training here in Nigeria; some are in ABU, BUK and other different universities doing Masters and PhD. But, because we are in need of staff in strategic offices, we had to undergo courses abroad because these courses are not currently available in Nigerian universities.
‘The last time we had much employment in the institute was in the year 2013 and that was seven years ago and those that were employed had risen to senior positions and that was the factor that necessitated the recent employment,’ he said.
Highlighting more of the institute’s accomplishments under his management, Dr Farah said: ‘The institute’s library was renovated, upgraded and equipped with modern ICT equipment to facilitate seamless learning and knowledge sharing among participants within and outside the country.
‘We are currently in the process of facilitating the accreditation of some courses by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), which will provide the institute with the opportunity to offer National Diplomas in Crane Operations, Welding & Fabrication, Mechatronics etc which will open windows of opportunities for the teeming youths in the country as well as improves the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the institute.’
The DG identified inadequate funding and capacity in human resources and facilities as major challenges confronting the institute, stating: ‘Our problems all boils down to lack of funding. We highly rely on the Federal Government through its budgetary provisions to fund our activities.
‘So, what we are doing is to conduct more training in the institute, conduct more research activities, provide consulting services to private and public organisations so that we will be able to make more money around the system to support the government.’