Since its inception six years ago, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (EEPNL), a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has spent a total of N500 million on the University Partnering Programme (UPP).
The UPP was initiated to help the ailing educational system; specifically to provide a boost to Geosciences education in Nigeria. it is aimed at funding geological field programmes in selected Nigerian universities as a means of enhancing the quality of locally-trained geosciences graduates. In addition, it seeks to improve the skills of those making and interpreting maps and also contribute to the production of high quality geological maps in the country.
Speaking at an event in Lagos where buses and geological equipment were donated to six universities, Mr. Chikwendu Edoziem, Executive Director/General Manager, Upstream Nigeria Exploration, EEPNL, said the commitment of his company to capacity development is beyond rhetorics.
He said: “It is not enough to just say that EEPNL places very high priority on education and capacity building in Nigeria. We have to back up our words with actions. And the maps produced under the UPP speak for us. We will continue to support programmes like this, which build and sustain employment opportunities for youths in the country. So far, we have spent N500 million on this project.”
On his own part, Mr. Andrew Ejayeriese, Manager, Deepwater Production, Geosciences, EEPNL, said the programme was initiated to “improve the standard of geosciences education in Nigerian universities, through the donation of top of the line fieldwork analytical equipment, as well as the provison of financial aid to the geoscience departments. The result of this programme has been very positive and that is why we are continuing with it. Our aim is to reach all the major universities in Nigeria.”
Donations made to the participating universities include: one brand new Toyota Hiace bus each for field logistics, fieldwork equipment, seven brunton compass-clinometers, 50 silva compass-clinometers, 10 garmin GPS, 50 magnifiers and 30 pickle-head geologic hammers.
While responding on behalf of the beneficiary-universities, Dr. C. K. Okonkwo, Head of Department, Applied Geology, Federal University of Technology, Akure, expressed their appreciation to EEPNL, adding that the universities would strive very hard to meet all the performance targets set for them.
The latest beneficiaries of the programme include Akwa Ibom State University, Mkpat Enin; Anambra State University, Uli; Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun; Federal University of Technology, Akure; University of Ilorin, Ilorin and University of Jos, Jos;
So far, 14 universities have benefited from the programme.