The newly established University of Transportation in Daura, Katsina State will commence academic activities in September.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo on Thursday during his visit to the university to inspect projects. He added that the work which started a year ago is now at the 60 per cent completion stage.
“The company handling the project as a corporate social responsibility initiative intends to hand over and commence the academic session in September this year. They have however asked for additional time to complete the project due to some circumstances.
“I have asked the consultant to meet the engineers and review how they can at least complete phase one of the projects so that the academic session can begin,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Magdalene Ajani, said the university would be run by the Chinese government for two years.
”And it will be taken over by the Federal Ministry of Education afterward.
“The management will run the university pending all the necessary approvals from the Federal Ministry of Education,” she said.
Reminiscing on the journey of the school, former Nigeria’s transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi, had spoken about how he coerced a Chinese construction firm, CCECC, to construct the university for Nigeria in the hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Amaechi disclosed this during the groundbreaking of the Transportation University in Daura, Katsina State.
In his speech at the event, Amaechi said CCECC, a company that has won several multi-billion naira government construction contracts, was initially reluctant to construct the university.
“I engaged the companies, the first engagement was when they were constructing Lagos-Ibadan.
“They were not so keen at spending their funds to build a university for Nigeria until I refused to sign the contract for the Lagos to Ibadan railway,” the minister said, apparently seeing nothing wrong in his action.
The minister then said he only agreed to sign the Lagos to Ibadan railway contract if CCECC met three conditions.
“I insisted that I will only sign if three things were done,” he said.
“The first thing is to take our children to China and train them by giving them the first degree in railway technology.
”Today as I speak, 60 of our children are in their second year and we thank CCECC, and 90 are on their way to China this week, making it 150.”
”The second is that, if we must sign the purchase of locomotives in China, they must build a factory where we can construct our coaches, locomotives, and wagon, and today at Kajola that factory is being constructed.
”Finally, I insisted on the University of Transportation and today we are here for the groundbreaking of the university and for all we are grateful to CCECC and the Chinese government.”
The minister said he has no regret for his actions including sitting at the university in President Buhari’s hometown.
And responding to criticism on the location of the university he said, “When we sited the factory at Kajola, there was no noise, nobody debated about it, nobody abused us for it unlike the site for the university.
”Daura is in Nigeria, it is not in any other part of the world. It is not in the Niger Republic, Biafra, or Mali, it is in Nigeria. So, what is wrong with sitting the University of Transportation in Daura?
”I have no regret sitting at this university where I have sited it, it is not because I want to get any gain,” Amaechi said.
He also said the university’s land, which is about 413 hectares, was donated by the Katsina government.
In his speech, President Buhari said he gave his consent to the university “to encourage the development of indigenous capacity which is part of his commitments to Nigerians.”
“The project is part of the ongoing effort of the federal government towards promotion and development of indigenous capacity through technology acquisition and knowledge transfer to effectively maintain and operate numerous railway infrastructure,’’ the president was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu.
“When established the university would among other things pave way for (the) domestication of railway engineering and general transportation sciences in Nigeria thereby bridging the technology and skill gap in the railway and ultimately transportation sector.”
In his speech at the event, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State said the project will further “boost the efforts of the state in providing sound education and technical skills to indigenes of the state.”