The management of the Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe in Bayelsa State, says the institution is under serious threat by coastal erosion and perennial flooding.
Rector of the institution, Dr Seiyaboh Idah, said this at a news briefing on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at the Liaison Office of the polytechnic in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Idah said that the erosion had washed away over 10 per cent of the polytechnic’s facilities.
He, therefore, called for urgent federal and state governments’ intervention to arrest the situation.
He said that the institution, which is situated on the bank of Nun River in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, needed shoreline protection.
The institution, which is sited in the oil-rich creeks of Bayelsa, can only be assessed by passenger boat.
The rector, who was represented at the briefing by his Executive Assistant, Mr Alagha Bibi-Welson, said that the polytechnic had the capacity to host 15,000 full-time and part-time students.
He, however, regretted that it could not attain its full potential because of the erosion menace.
Idah also regretted that the polytechnic had yet to hook up to the national grid, saying that the institution was operating on generators for 20 hours daily.
He said that insecurity and perennial flooding had forced at least 5,000 students of Bayelsa origin to seek admission in neighbouring Delta State Polytechnic.
The rector expressed delight that the workers’ salary shortfall, which had always caused industrial unrest in the polytechnic, had been permanently resolved.
He said that the resolution was made possible through the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari and that the development had boosted workers’ morale.
Idah further said that the institution now enjoyed industrial peace and harmony between the management and the various staff and students’ unions.
He expressed joy that the students’ population had increased to almost 4,000 as against 40 in 2017, when he assumed office.
The rector said that the institution’s plan to admit 1,000 students in 2020 to boost the population to 5,000 was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He listed other challenges facing the institution to include abandoned projects, dearth of workers and the lack of accommodation and access road.
By Nathan Nwakamma