The Niger Delta Development Commission said it had approved N2 billion for the renovation of schools in the Niger Delta region in line with the 2017 budget.
NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, disclosed this on Friday when members of the executive of the Regina Coeli College, Essene, Old Boys Association, paid him a courtesy visit at the commission’s corporate headquarters in Port Harcourt.
Ekere assured the Old Boys Association that their alma mater would benefit from the renovation exercise, even as he expressed regret that the school, which used to be a centre of excellence in education, was now saddled with dilapidated infrastructure.
He stated that it was unfortunate that the situation was the lot of many schools in the Niger Delta region.
“This is what has made NDDC to be intervening actively in the renovation of schools. This year, we have made a provision of N2bn for the renovations of schools in the region.
“We have an extra N1bn for schools in Akwa Ibom State and some of these (funds) will definitely be extended to Regina Coeli College,” Ekere said.
The NDDC boss noted that education was the key to the development of the society, adding that it was also the tool that could be used to fight insecurity.
He added, “If you educate the minds of the people and educate the minds of the youths, they will know that violence is not an option. They will concentrate and channel their energies and resources towards sustainable livelihoods rather than engage in violence and criminality.”
Ekere maintained that the NDDC was determined to support education at all levels, saying, “We know that the state governments in the region are doing a lot in the education sector, but being an interventionist agency, we will see where gaps exist and fill them.”
He assured that the commission would respond to the needs of the schools where necessary, stating that NDDC was ready to work with the Old Boys of the school to restore the dilapidated facilities.
In his remarks, the President of the Old Boys Association, Chief Clement Isok, said that they were eager and desirous to restore the college to its former glory as one of the elite secondary schools in Nigeria.
According to him, the school was once “the toast of the 60s and 70s with educational and infrastructural facilities that were second to none, the school was the undisputed choice of parents nationwide for the training of their prized wards.”
Isok further said, “The college is currently bedevilled with an avalanche of problems. For instance, the college has no perimeter fence, thereby exposing the students and staff to serious security threats.
“The main entrance road to the college and internal roads are being washed off by erosion and have become inaccessible. The academic block, chapel, dormitories and staff quarters have all deteriorated to various stages of disrepair.
“More pathetic is the fact that the college assembly/dining hall, which used to be the pride of the students, has gradually degenerated into a prison-like cafeteria with blown-off roof.”