From: Segun Babatunde in Bauchi
The Association of Professional Women Engineers (APWEN) in collaboration with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has constructed and commissioned a multimillion Naira well equipped Science and technology laboratory with a motorized borehole
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony on Friday, GMD/CEO, NNPC, Mele Kyari Kolo said that the program is targeted at primary school girls, ages 8-10 to promote the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as well as girl-child education in NNPC.
Represented by the Chief Innovation Officer, NNPC, Engr Betty Ugona, he added that in living up to its corporate social responsibility, the NNPC responded to the call, and few months after the historic meeting, APWEN and NNPC collaborated in what was one of the largest and most ambitious attempts to encourage more girls across the Country to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
He added that the series of events, organized across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, led to the establishment of Science and Laboratory centers in selected schools.
Mele Kyari disclosed that the maiden edition of the flagship Programme- “Invent It, Build It,” sponsored by NNPC, which has touched the lives of Nigerians in many positive ways, was launched at Sarki Ahmadu primary school, Misau in Bauchi State on 21st April 2018.
He further said that on the same day, the foundation was laid for the construction of an ultra-modern Science and Technology Laboratory at Sarki Ahmadu primary school, also sponsored by NNPC.
According to him, “it is important and heartwarming to remark that the Laboratory was named after the illustrious son of Misau, the immediate past Group Managing Director of NNPC, Engr. Dr. Makainti Baru, who was also an alumnus of this school” .
“We make bold to state that the construction and equipping of the Science and Technology Laboratory will encourage not just the young girls, but also the boys, to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, (STEM), and hence make them Economic Drivers and Problem Solvers in our dear Nation, Nigeria”, he stressed.
The NNPC GMD stressed that the membership of APWEN has indeed shown itself as a ‘force for good’ and as an effective platform for co-operation and for promoting development. We believe that the utilization of this laboratory will produce tangible outcomes that will shape the career choices and positive impact of our children.
“As a company, we are poised to continue emplacing women and girls in the frontlines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. As a collective people, it is also imperative that we continue to extend a hand of support to each other even as we come together, in one voice and as a credible bloc, to continue to build”, he added.
He thereby called on willing organizations and partners, both locally and internationally, to continue to support APWEN and reach the under-served in our various communities.
“Once again, I must salute the efforts of the leadership of APWEN for ideating and reaching out to key partners in promoting the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as well as promotion of girl-child education via the vehicle of “Invent It, Build It”, he concluded.
In her welcome address, President of APWEN, Engr Dr Elizabeth Jumoke Eterigho said that Scholarships were awarded to 21 best pupils from 10 primary schools in Misau after conducting series of hand-on experiments with everyday materials.
She added that the scholarship was awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the pinnacle of Nigerian economy, our “Invent It, Build It” execution partner, from Primary to University level.
Afterwards, according to her, the program was also launched in six other states: Edo, Ogun, Kano, Anambra, Kogi and Borno States, thereby covering the six geopolitical zones.
Elizabeth Eterigho also said that In each of the states, scholarships were awarded to ten pupils each and foundation laid for the construction of an ultra-modern science and technology laboratory with the exception of Edo state where, due to lack of land within the school premises, we were provided with three empty classrooms to equip as a science and technology laboratory, which has since been completed and awaiting commissioning.
The remaining five (5) are awaiting mobilization for work to commence on site as the contract agreements have been signed and invoices sent to NNPC.
“Altogether in this phase 1, the total scholarship awarded is eighty-one deserving girls in Primaries 5-6 in the chosen schools from six geo-political zones (seven states) in the Federation and has given hope to these young girls who may have been disrupted in life because they had no one to pay their school fees through secondary schools to universities, while total number of laboratories under construction is five. To date two science and technology laboratories are completed and one out of the two is been commissioned today by NNPC, our partners”, she said.
She added that the Construction and Equipping of the Science and Technology Laboratories in these chosen primary schools in the six geo-political zones, will encourage not just the young girls but boys also to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, (STEM), and hence make them Economic Drivers and Problem Solvers in our dear Nation, Nigeria.
“We have also disbursed these funds to the beneficiaries in Bauchi (2018-2021), Edo (2018-2021), Ogun (2019-2021), Kano (2019-2021), Anambra (2019-2021) and Kogi (2019-2021) and Borno (2018 & 2021). We are grateful for your commitment based on the adoption by NNPC of this “Invent It, Build It” Programme as their CSR. Without any doubt, the NNPC is living up to its slogan of “touching lives in many possible ways”.
She then appealed saying, “We use this opportunity to solicit for the release of the funds for the remaining five editions of “invent it build it” program to enable us fulfil the commitments made. The expected money covers scholarships from primary to university of the pupils from the remaining 5 states, construction of five 5 well equipped laboratories with five motorized boreholes, and logistics for carrying out the events in the five locations”.