The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has promised to build and equip a science and technology laboratory in Ofugo community in Kogi state to enhance pupils, especially the girl child’s interest in science and engineering professions, Concise News reports.
Ofugo, a small community of not more than five thousand inhabitants, is about two hours drive from Lokoja, the state capital.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Engr Maikanti Baru at the foundation laying ceremony of the laboratory to mark the sixth edition of the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), at LEA primary school, Ofugo, Ankpa local government area of the state, agreed with the philosophy of bringing honour to whom honour is due.
As the President of COREN, Engr. Ali Alimasuya Rabiu has ensured that the engineering profession and professionals do not suffer any break in the attempt to make sure that those aspiring to veer into the profession have a good early start.
The gesture of promoting engineering courses especially in Kogi state was a collaboration between the NNPC and APWEN.
Upon completion, the project will be named after Engr. Kashim Ali, the President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), who had his primary education at the school where the project is located, many years ago.
Dr Shuaibu Musa, Managing Director, Medical, NNPC, said the establishment of the laboratory within the school premises to appreciate the president of COREN, Engr Kashim Alih and managed by APWEN, was in recognition of his enormous contribution to the growth and development of engineering in Nigeria.
According to Leadership Newspaper, the programme tagged: ”Invent it, Build it”, was aimed at ”Inspiring the Girl-Child to take up the Sciences with the view to pursuing a career in Engineering.”
“When you think inventions you think Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). It is a documented fact that no nation has become powerful and developed without the development of STEM. Everything you can see around you are products of STEM; engineers are the future of the nation.
“I have come to encourage you to be engineers,” Baru said.
Furthermore, Baru stated that the NNPC would award scholarship to 10 deserving girls from 10 primary schools from primary to university level, to study sciences and ultimately engineering.
He noted that the scholarship award would be named ”Engr Kashim Ali Engineering Scholarships for Girls”, and shall be managed by APWEN.
Ali commended the NNPC and APWEN for the honour bestowed on him and for encouraging young children to develop a keen interest in science and engineering.
Ali, who also received an Award of Excellence from APWEN for his excellent role in engineering, urged the children to be neat, always dress well and be good ambassadors of engineering profession, adding ”I wish you well, and I wish your parents should encourage you so that you can become what you should be in life.”
According to Engr Felicia Agubata, the President of APWEN, the association remains committed to encouraging women to achieve professional excellence as engineers and leaders, saying that they have about 3000 members across the six geopolitical zones of the country. She noted that the same initiative had been carried out in five selected states, one in each geopolitical zones, saying Kogi would be the sixth state representing the Northcentral. ”Bauchi in North East, Edo in South-South, Ogun in Southwest, Kano in Northwest, Anambra in Southeast and we are now at the sixth state, North Central Nigeria.”
She continues: ”We have awarded scholarships to 61 pupils and still counting.”
The highlight of the event was award to 10 selected winners (girls) from a practical experiment performed by 100 participants from 10 schools, who went home with one Hp Laptop each courtesy of Engr Kashim Ali’s club.
Three Hp laptops were also donated to the head teachers on behalf of the three primary schools located within the premises of the YEA school, Ofugo.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state commended NNPC and APWEN for their initiatives and for the choice of Kogi among the North Central states to benefit from the World class project of establishment of the laboratory by Nigeria National Petroleum Company, (NNPC).
”We are excited by the development as more individuals are developing an interest to invest in the education sector, just as Engr. Kashim has done, who has come back home to impact the lives of school children.
”I am so happy that this gesture has also set a trend for others to emulate, and I am excited that Kogi is going to be finally repositioned in the education sector”, Rosemary Oshikoya who represented Bello said.