President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned a new Transport University in Katsina, his home state.
Mr Buhari, at the event, said the school will enhance employment opportunities and supplement the transport sector’s ”dire need of new thinking, skills and investment”.
The university is said to be the first of its kind in Africa and it is located in Daura, the hometown of President Buhari.
The siting has led to debates on the need for a transport university when some of the country’s dysfunctional universities have transport as a discipline.
However, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said contrary to all insinuations, the decision to situate the university in the president’s hometown is ‘pure’ ”since Daura is a part of Nigeria”.
“Daura is in Nigeria, it is not in any other part of the world. It is not in Niger Republic, Biafra or Mali, it is in Nigeria. So, what is wrong in siting the University of Transportation in Daura?”
”I have no regret siting this university where I have sited it, it is not because I want to get any gain,” Mr Amaechi added.
Also speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony in Daura, President Buhari noted his consent to the university ”is 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,’’ he said.
“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,’’ President Buhari said in a statement signed by his senior spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Monday.
He also noted that the university is an investment of the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) ”with the support of the federal government with guidelines to ensure domestication that will support local infrastructure.”
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State in his remarks, reportedly said the project will further “boost the efforts of the state in providing sound education and technical skills to indigenes of the state.”
The governor said the infrastructure of the state had been improved with the construction of many roads, adding that the university will provide requisite technical and managerial skills.
Meanwhile, Mr Amaechi said the siting of the university in Daura ”will encourage cultural exchange as well as fill the gap in technical and managerial skills for the transport sector.”
“The decision to bring this university to Daura was purely mine,’’ he added.
He also said he convinced the CCECC to build the university as part of its corporate social responsibility for benefitting from many government construction contracts.