Academic and administrative activities have been paralysed at the Permanent Site (Campus II) of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Omoku, Rivers State following gas spillage emanating from OB/OB gas pipeline in the area belonging to Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
The burst NPS-18 MAOP-85 BARG gas pipeline, owned by the Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Petrochemicals Limited, Rivers State passes through the heart of the college’s Permanent Site (Campus II) along Obrikom Road, Omoku.
The affected area, which houses the college’s Directorate of Degree Programmes in affiliation with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and many other schools of study, departments, laboratories, units, staff offices, among others has thousands of students and staff.
The spillage, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, June 27, 2018 through Monday July 2, 2018, forced lecturers, staff, students, traders and visitors to desert the campus for fear of explosion.
The ugly incident, apart from disruption of regular activities and posing health and environmental hazards, has destroyed many college farms and fish ponds, students’ demonstration farms as well as degradation of college environment.
Students of the college led by the SUG President, Hon. Eze Nwaneme Emmanuel, sceptical of their safety in the institution on Friday, June 29, 2018 staged a peaceful demonstration calling on the management of Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited and Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Petrochemicals Limited to do the needful as the college was not safe for learning due to the gas spillage which has been reoccurring.
Addressing the protesting students, Provost of the college, Dr. Emmanuel Ikenyiri, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Pac Ordu, thanked them for a peaceful demonstration, and disclosed that the college management had contacted the companies concerned.
Ikenyiri, however, appealed to both the federal and Rivers State governments, multinational companies, corporate bodies, philanthropic organizations and individuals to come to the aid of the college as gas spillage in an academic environment was a risk on human lives, lamenting that apart from the destruction of college valuables like farms, fish ponds and other aquatic lives, staff, students could not breathe fresh air because the gas spillage has saturated the area.
Meanwhile, after an emergency management meeting attended by the Deputy Provost, Dr. Pac Ordu, the Registrar, Dr. Liverpool Onyije, Bursar, Mr. Chris Goin, College Librarian, Mrs. Nkechi Egesimba, Director of Works, Engr. Nathan Wokocha, the Dean, Students’ Affairs (DSA), Mr. Mathew Gimba with the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union, Pastor Akpos Owesina and the PRO, Prince Charles Amadike-Otoboh, among others, to appraise the situation, staff and students in the affected area were advised to keep off the zone until normalcy was restored.
As at the time of filing this report last Monday, at 4.00pm, engineers said to be mobilized by Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemical Limited were seen at the site of the incident battling to stop the leakage.
They, however, could not respond to all inquiries by this reporter.
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