Felix Ikem, Nsukka
It was indeed a mission accomplished as the Department of Archaeology and Tourism, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), inaugurated a museum on June 11, 2020.
The contract for the edifice, which boasts of state-of-the-art facilities, Daily Sun gathered, was awarded in 2005 but it was abandoned since 2008.
Speaking at the official handover of the building to the department, the dean of the Faculty of Arts, UNN, Prof. Nnanyelugo Okoro, said the museum would go a long way in helping students and researchers in the university: “I believe that this museum will serve the very purpose for which it was renovated; it will serve our students, visitors and the like. The museum building project being commissioned today is the result of an effort that has lasted for over 10 years. The project was graciously completed by our amiable vice chancellor, Prof. Charles Arinzechukwu Igwe.”
Okoro while soliciting financial support for equipping the project, described the museum and all its component parts as handover notes to future generations, while expressing optimism that they attained greater height in their era: “We solicit your intervention in ensuring that the building is well equipped for use by staff and students.”
The institution’s girector of physical planning, Prof. Ekwelem Okechukwu, who said the facility would help in teaching and learning in the department, further explained that the project had taken long to complete: “Let me emphasize here that this project was awarded in 2005. Even though it was later abandoned in 2008, there was no additional cost by the new contractor, Chumax Agency Limited, for the completion of the building this year. This is to show you the seriousness and determination everybody involved put in to ensure the completion of the project.”
He added that the previous administration revisited the project again in 2018 when it had a window of funding through the NEEDS Projects Phase 2 but could not do much via direct labour.
According to him, it was at this period that the project consultant and his team redesigned it to accommodate the archaeology museum, classrooms, offices and conveniences: “The project was awarded to Messrs Chumax Agency Limited on June 12, 2018, but actual work commenced in July 26, 2018, and the contract period was for 16 weeks. The project suffered a time overrun due to some administrative and logistic issues. However, there was no cost overrun, as the project was completed within the project budget.”
In his remarks, Prof. Igwe promised to equip the building and directed the chief security officer of the institution to detail his personnel to man the facilities on a daily basis.
He then urged the department to make the museum open to the public so that it would generate revenue for the university: “I am very happy to take delivery of this museum building today after 15 years of the award of the contract and abandonment by the previous administrations. We equally express our gratitude to the contractor, Chumax Agency Limited for the delivery of work as stipulated in their contract.”
On his part, director of the firm, Mr. Mathias Uba, said he had assured the VC that he would complete the project to write his name on marble.
The highpoint of the occasion was the cutting of the tape by the vice chancellor, after which the contractor handed over the keys to the building to the VC, down to the head of department, Archaeology and Tourism, Prof. Maduabuchi Ibeanu.
The ceremony was part of activities marking Prof. Igwe’s one year in office as vice chancellor.