By Chukwuemeka Opara
President Muhammadu Buhari will visit Ebonyi State, South East of Nigeria in March, 2017 to inaugurate three flyover projects being constructed by the state government.
The three flyovers, being constructed on the Enugu-Abakaliki federal highway, is part of the trans-Saharan route to Cameroon.
Gov. David Umahi made the announcement on Friday during his inaugural visit to the permanent site of Ebonyi State University.
He said: “the projects are in their eight months of construction and they are expected to be completed by March to be inaugurated by the President Buhari.
“Despite the criticisms that initially trailed their construction, the flyovers will enhance our infrastructural well-being and save lives lost on the road.
“In realisation that this institution is situated few meters from the road, we constructed a pedestrian crossing at junction of the school due to deaths of students on the road.
“My wife witnessed an accident at the junction where two students were killed by a vehicle and we decided to construct the pedestrian crossing to forestall further loss of lives.”
The governor announced that a ‘boxed-house’ would also be constructed at the junction for the relaxation of the students while waiting to board buses to their various destinations.
“We have procured a 50-KVA solar-powered generator to ensure constant electricity supply at the junction to save lives,” he said.
Umahi used the occasion to announce N10, 000 reduction in the school fees paid by all categories of students of the university.
He said that the students pay the highest amount of school fees in the South-East and South-South zones of the country.
“The reduction is however conditional because when there are reported cases of cultism and other vices in the institution, I will reverse the decision.
“The school has the highest number of staff in both zones; university community is not a place to share money in the name of social security.
“We will also reflect the ‘state character’ in our forthcoming substantive appointments in the university to give the 13 Local Government Areas, a sense of belonging,” he said.
Umahi also announced the presentation of 3,000 (25kg) bags of rice and N5 million to staff of the institution for their Christmas celebration.
“We also present 3, 000 (25kg) bags of rice and N10 million to the students for their Christmas celebration,” he said.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Francis Idike, thanked the governor for the visit, saying it signifies great tidings for the institution.
“We will continue to provide academic excellence to the students and collaborate with the government to enhance the state’s educational sector,” he said.
Prof. Ndubisi Idenyi, Chairman of the University’s branch of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), also commended the governor for the visit.
He said that the governor had made `significant concessions’ since the last meeting the leadership of the union had with him.
“We however plead that you implement our 2013/14 promotions especially the professorial ones and grant us additional salary payment (13th month) paid to other categories of workers in the state,” he said.