Spurred by the need to expand access to quality high education in the country, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, in conjunction with its joint venture partner, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, has collaborated with one of its host communities, Sapele Okpe Community in Delta State, to build a University Teaching Centre.
The Centre which is to be operated by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Sapele Teaching Centre, has been described as a big step towards meeting the yearnings and aspirations of many Nigerians that don’t have access to conventional university systems but who want to further their education.
The Teaching Centre will make education available and close to the citizenry both in the rural and urban areas of Sapele, Ethiope West and Okpe Local Government Areas and their environs, including many women who would not have had the opportunity to attend university outside their area of residence because of the need to take care of their family and, in certain cases, support them financially by pursuing daily economic activities.
Seplat is the operator of the NPDC/SEPLAT Joint Venture assets – OMLs 4, 38 & 41 – in the Niger Delta region.
The project and the accreditation of the centre which cost over N126 million 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 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 to school because of big financial burden will be encouraged to do so in addition to mitigating against hazards associated with long road travels.
“SEPLAT remains highly committed to providing opportunities for greater educational development for its host communities and Nigeria at large,” Brown said.
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, Abdalla Adamu, who was represented by the Deputy VC (Academics), Uduma Oji Uduma.