It is almost two years after the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) donated a three-storey, 174-room Hall of Residence to the Rivers State University (RSU). The facilities in the hostel seem to have perpetually made students to be indebted to the agency for building what they described as “world-class edifice” to ease their accommodation challenges.
To the students, the 522-bed NDDC hostel tells the story of a total turnaround in their quest to make their campus conducive to learning and research.
The mood of the students was captured by the submission of a Mass Communication student, Evelyn Jumbo, who said: “NDDC has given us a beautifully built hostel that has stood out as a landmark edifice on the campus. It has made our stay on the campus pleasurable.”
Even members of the university management team agreed that something remarkable had been added to the campus landscape. The Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Blessing Didia, described the hostel as the most valuable structure in the school.
According to him, the hostel was fitted with ancillary facilities, including a 20,000-gallon water tank linked to a water treatment plant, which provides steady water supply to the hostel complex. It also has space for supermarkets and shops, easing students of stress. The hostel, he said, has students’ lounge, administrative offices, cybercafé, games rooms and facilities specially made for the physically-challenged students. The hostel is fully furnished and has a standby power generator in case of power outage.
NDDC Governing Board Chairman, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), said the commission embarked on the interventionist mission to turn around education, which he described as one of the agency’s core priorities.
Ndoma-Egba said youth education remained a key factor that should be given attention to drive development. “If anyone wants to invest in a nation, education of the youth is the best option. For human beings to be resourceful, they must be healthy, motivated and educated,” he said.
During a visit, the NDDC Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr Ibitoye Abosede, reassured leaders of the National Association of Niger Delta Students (NANDS) that the commission would continue to assist tertiary institutions in the Niger Delta region.
Abosede harped on NDDC’s assistance to universities in the Niger Delta region in the area of accommodation and research facilities.
He said apart from the hostel built in the RSU, six other prototype hostels had been delivered out of the 18 being constructed by the NDDC in all nine states that make up Niger Delta.
He listed schools where other hostels are being built to include Imo State University (IMSU); the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO); University of Benin (UNIBEN); Delta State University (DELSU); Michael Okpara University of Agriculture (MOUA), Umudike, and the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) Teaching Hospital.
Speaking on the hostel, RSU VC, Prof Didia, said the management would remain grateful to the commission for investing in the project to alleviate accommodation challenges facing the school.
The VC said: “RSU has students’ population of about 20,000 and only about 2,000 students could be accommodated in the school hostel before NDDC’s intervention. The joy of students is understandable because the new hostel gives a great relief. Apart from providing the students a conducive place to sleep, the hostel also guarantees occupants’ security. It promotes healthy living and encourages academic excellence.”
Prof Didia appealed to other government agencies and private organisations to emulate the NDDC’s gesture in contributing to the development of tertiary education by building schools’ capacities to promote quality learning.
He said: “Development of education must be a collective effort of all stakeholders. As such, providing accommodation should also be a joint effort of all. This is what the NDDC has demonstrated with the construction of a modern hostel for the university.”
The Dean of Student Affairs, Dr Isaac Zeb-Obipi, said the hostel had reduced over-crowding in the school’s halls, while also promoting decent living.
Zeb-Obipi said: “The NDDC hostel has reduced the pressure we are having in the area of providing accommodation for our students. This gesture is quite commendable. The NDDC deserves praise for coming to the aid of the university.”
President of the National Union of Rivers State Students, Caleb Emmanuel, said the students would remain grateful to the NDDC for giving them a state-of-the-art facility that saved them from the dangers and difficulties of living outside the campus.
He described NDDC’s intervention as timely, noting that a situation where students were forced to live off-campus made them susceptible to vices and crimes.
Michael Amadi, a 300-Level Law student, said the NDDC Hostel was the best thing that had happened to the school in recent years.
He said: “It is inadequate accommodation that forces many students to live off-campus and sometimes fall prey to cultism. Since more students are now accommodated on the campus, incidents of crimes and security breaches have reduced.”
The University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) VC, Prof Ndowa Lale, whose school is billed to benefit from the NDDC’s intervention programme, said: “If UNIPORT can get 800 students, who are currently living off campus to live in the hostel, it will do us a lot of good. We appeal to the NDDC to complete and hand over the hostel being built to us as soon as possible.”
Prof Lale pointed out that if there were more hostels on campus, students living off-campus would take advantage and join their colleagues for group studies and research.
Source: The Nation