By Silas Onuoha
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has charged Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria to translate its giant strides in research, training and transport infrastructural development into self-sustainance instead of relying on government appropriations.
The Minister who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani and other Management Staff gave this charge yesterday in Zaria on his familiarization tour of the Instutute.
“NITT has no business going cap in hand to the National Assembly every year looking for appropriation. From what I have seen, there is a lot of money, you’re not making here”.
The Minister who was obviously very pleased with the level of development in the institute said: “There’s no need for the agencies in the Transportation Sector to send their staff abroad for training when we have such institution right here in Zaria. There is no need wasting the scarce resources in such training outside”.
Going further , the Minister pointed out that despite the huge investments in the transportation sector by the present administration in the last seven years, “a lot still needs to be done to advance the Transportation Sector to enable Nigeria to overcome the deficit in the sector”.
While appreciating the contributions and achievements recorded by the Management of NITT in the area of training, research and huge investment on infrastructures, the Minister urged them to provide leading role that will put Nigeria’s Transport sector in its rightful place in the global space.
He further urged NITT to “upgrade its curriculum according to global best practices and affiliate with various research institutions thereby increasing the knowledge base of its lecturers and beneficiaries. This is necessary to place the Institute on a high pedestal and as a training hub in Nigeria, Africa and the World at large”.
Speaking earlier, the Director General, NITT, Zaria, Dr. Bayero Salih-Farah, said: “the Institute is complementing the effort of the present administration in exiting the patrol subsidy regime through the provision of alternative energy source to the transportation sector. The Institute is currently in talks with the National Gas Expansion Programme Committee to provide the technical manpower that will engineer the process of converting all fossil fuel driven vehicles to use either Compressed National Gas (CNG), Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) or the Liquified Premium gas (LNG)”.
“Furthermore, the Institute is planning to champion the process of conversion and production of the conversion kits in the very near future. The Institute has compliments of equipment and facilities to achieve this”, the DG added.
The DG also informed that in a bid to bring “the services of the institution closer to the people, across the geopolitical zones, the Institute has established and equipped Outreach Learning Centres in Port Harcourt, Lagos, Gombe, Kano, Ebonyi, Abuja, Katsina and Ekiti with state-of-the-art training equipment, aimed at bringing her programmes and services to the door steps of existing and prospective clients”.
According to the DG, the courses which are both short-term and long-term basis are run throughout the year, adding that the institution is currently training over 4,000 youth across the country in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
The courses run by NITT leading to National Diploma (ND) include: Transport and Logistics Management, Auto Body Technology, Transport Safety Technology while Transport Technology and Management is run on High National Diploma (HND) level with Certificate Courses in Automotive Mechatronics, Driver Simulation, Crane Operation, Auto Electrical, Vulcanizing/Wheel Balancing and Alignment, Auto Wielding and Fabrication, Forklift Operations, Highway Design and Maintenance, and Environmental Health and Safety in Transport.
The challenges facing the institution to which the DG called on the Minister to intervene include: budgetary constraints and the need to strengthen its legal Instruments to enable it keep pace with the current realities in the industry and play leading role in driving research, training and technology innovation in the industry.
“In view of the enormous tasks before the Institute and in order to fully deliver our mandate to the Transport Sector and the Nigerian economy at large, we are appealing to the Honourable Minister to kindly assist the Institute with alternative and more reliable source of funding”, Farah pleaded.
Places visited by the Minister and entourage were: the Painting Booth, Welding Workshop, Automotive Workshop, Driving Simulation Laboratory among others .
The highlight of the occasion was the commissioning of the the new Bursary Building and the Foundation Laying for new Directors Qurters by the Minister