SEPLAT, Sapele Okpe Expand Access to Quality Education with University Teaching Centre
By Abisola THOMPSON
Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, the operator of the NPDC/SEPLAT Joint Venture assets, OMLs 4, 38 & 41, in partnership with the Sapele Okpe Community in Delta State, has expanded access to equal and qualitative higher education with the commissioning of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Sapele Teaching Centre, in Delta State.
The project and the accreditation of the centre which cost over One Hundred and Twenty-six Million Naira (N126m) was funded from NPDC/SEPLAT JV fund allocation to the Sapele Okpe Community under its General Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) to Host Oil and Gas Producing Communities by SEPLAT. SEPLAT’s civil engineers’ team supervised the project and ensured timely project delivery and value for money.
Commenting on the feat, Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer, SEPLAT, commended and congratulated the community for cooperating with the company in the selection and execution of the project, adding that education is key to economic, political and social dynamics of the society.
He remarked that the Teaching Centre will make education available and close to the citizenry both in the rural or urban areas of Sapele, Ethiope West and Okpe Local Government Areas and the environs including providing many women who would not have had the opportunity to attend University outside their area of resident because of the need to take care of their family and in certain cases, support them financially by pursuing daily economic activities.
He explained that access to quality open and distance education in Sapele will boost the local economy and significantly reduce the cost of access to quality education and therefore, many parents who would ordinarily have been discouraged to send their children school because of big financial burden will be encouraged to do so in addition to mitigating against hazards associated with long road travels.
The SEPLAT CEO, Brown, added that: “SEPLAT remains highly committed to providing opportunities for greater educational development for its host communities and Nigeria at large.
He explained that quality education is a crucial tool for improving the prospects of higher income levels for individuals, and for the economic growth of local communities, states and the nation.
With the commissioning of the centre, SEPLAT in partnership with its host community, Sapele, is helping the nation to achieve Goal 4 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is focused on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting life-long learning opportunities for all.”
Annually, the NPDC/ SEPLAT JV invests millions in education programmes, seeking to provide the benefits of quality education to the communities where we operate and support the government in attaining the national objectives as stated in the National Policy on Education (1981): “not only is education the greatest force that can be used to bring about redress, it is also the greatest investment that the nation can make for the quick development of its economic, political, sociological and human resources”.
SEPLAT with the support of its joint venture partner, the NPDC, has since 2010 make corporate social investment in education yearly, contributing to the provision of quality education through construction of school buildings, renovation of schools, construction of library and laboratories and teachers quarters and quiz programme (the PEARLs Quiz) as well as the teachers development programme which commenced last year
SEPLAT values the mutually benefitting relationship that exists between it and Sapele as well as its other communities. The company will continue to strive for more collaborations to deliver projects to the benefits of all stakeholders.
Also speaking at the commissioning ceremony, the chairman of Sapele Okpe community, Patrick Akamovba said that access to education in its full and extensive sense means free and unrestricted, unimpeded and opportunities for many people to attain knowledge, expertise, and abilities available at the university level so that they can optimally participate and contribute to development of the society.
The centre was commissioned by NOUN Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Adamu, who was represented by the Deputy VC (Academics), Professor Uduma Oji Uduma.
The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom, His Royal Majesty Orhue 1, Major General Felix Mujakperuo (rtd; CFR, mni), the Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, Professor Patrick Muoboghare, Professor Sam Oyovbaire and other prominent chiefs and sons and daughters of Okpe kingdom.