Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The management of Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe in Southern Ijaw Local Area of Bayelsa State have cried out to the Federal Government over the coastal erosion that is threatening the existence of the institution.
According to the management, 10 percent of facilities in the premier oil and gas based tertiary institution have already been washed away by the erosion.
The Rector, Dr. Seiyaboh Idah of the Institution, represented by his Executive Assistant, Alagha Bibi-Welson who stated this over the weekend disclosed that though the Polytechnic has the capacity to host 15,000 full-time and part-time students, the capacity is yet to the attained due to the issues of coastal erosion disaster.
Idah explained that the institution suffers from security and perennial flood challenges which has forced about 5000 students of Bayelsa origin to seek admission in neighbouring Delta State Polytechnic.
The Rector while noting that the Polytechnic sited at Ekowe, a coastal settlement by the bank of Nun River could only be assessed by passenger boats, lamented abandonment of projects, shortage of staff and accommodation, insecurity, coastal erosion and lack of access road.
He also bemoaned the failure to be connected to the national grid, a situation that forces management to run power generating sets for 20 hours, affecting productivity of staff and students.
Idah speaking further explained that besides these challenges the issue of staff salary shortfall which was responsible for incessant strike actions at the institution has been permanently resolved thereby boosting staff morale .
The Rector recounted that it took the intervention of the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government to rectify the situation which was the bane of recurring staff-management squabbles for many years.
He said that the institution now enjoys stable working relationship amongst management and staff with total students now standing at 4,000 students as against a total of just 40 students in 2017 when he took over Rector.
“Our target is to make the school appealing to attract more students from Bayelsa as available records show that due to the previous state of the institution, parents prefer to send their children to school in neighbouring states.
“We have made some modest efforts and completed a couple of infrastructures and buildings for six engineering courses, these projects are meant to increase the capacity of the polytechnic and they stand there to speak for us.
“We are currently collaborating with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to accredit us as a centre of excellence for fabrication and that will be an added advantage for the oil industry.”