Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The teaching and learning of the sciences in Ibeku High School, Umuahia, has received a major boost as it can now boast of a well equipped modern laboratory complex in its long history following its selection as a beneficiary of the education intervention of a group of oil firms under the aegis of Agbami parties.
The laboratory which was handed over to the Abia State Government and the school management at a ceremony, elicited a high sense of relief and excitement among teachers and students of the school located in the heart of the state capital. The Agbami Parties involved in the project include, Star Deepwater Petroleum, NAPIMS, Petroleo Brasiliero, Statoil and FAMFA Oil Limited. The firms are involved in crude oil exploitation at Agbami Field located about 113 kilometres offshore hence they view the entire country as Agbami community hence their strategic intervention projects are scattered across the country.
Speaking at the event, the director, Star Deepwater Petroleum, Mr. Richard Kennedy, said that the donation of the laboratory “represents the resolve of Agbami parties to improving the availability and affordability of education to Nigerians.”
“The science laboratory is expected to have a huge impact on the students because it will provide them up-to-date science laboratory equipment for undertaking experiments and for writing their examinations,” he said. Kennedy, whose address was read by the manager, policy, government and public affairs, Mr. Samuel Otuonye, noted that the building and donation of the science laboratory to Ibeku High School was not the first time the Agbami Parties would be engaging in providing social infrastructure in the state. According to him, the Agbami Parties have so far donated 33 science laboratories, six hybrid and two conventional libraries as well as 25 chest clinics to different states of the federation as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
He recalled that through its corporate social responsibility outreach the Agbami Parties have implemented other projects in Abia. For instance, they provided a fully equipped Chest Clinic at Abia Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centre, Amachara, Umuahia. In addition 1,067 Abia State indigenes have benefitted from Agbami medical and engineering professional scholarships (AMEPS) sine 2009 while 119 others benefitted from the NNPC/CNLJV scholarships between 2014 and 2016.
Chairman of FAMFA Oil, Folorunso Alakija, who was represented by Obinna Iheonu, said that the oil company has special passion for advancement of education hence its involvement in the provision of better learning facilities in schools.
“We are happy that 33 science laboratories which we have donated to various institutions are helping to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) nationwide,” she said.
Alakija said that aside from its social investments in education, FAMFA Oil has also been contributing in the provision of quality healthcare and needed manpower for the sustainable development of Nigeria in various parts of the country.
Like other partners in the social intervention project of the Agbami parties, the Managing Director, Petroleo Brasiliero (Petrobras), represented by the government and community relations manager, Meg Irozuru, said that investment in giving Nigerian youths quality education was a worthy investment.
“On our part we will continue to engage in projects of this nature that are aimed at improving the well-being of our people,” the Petrobras boss said, adding “the future of a nation is determined by how well educated the youth are.”
Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, represented by his deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, was on hand to receive the laboratory complex. He profusely thanked the Agbami Parties for tailoring their corporate social responsibility projects to impact positively on the nation. He noted that the Agbami Parties had already donated Chest Clinic to Abia which “is indeed serving the state and has saved many lives.”
Ikpeazu said that the laboratory would further assist the state to sustain its successive record of first position in WAEC examinations. However, the governor specifically tasked the staff and students of Ibeku High School to make good use of the laboratory, saying that both the state government and the Agbami Parties would be very happy to see the school posting excellent results in sciences as well as English Language and Mathematics every year.
While expressing his appreciation to the Agbami parties for choosing his school for the laboratory project, the principal of Ibeku High School, Mr. Kalu Ojike, promised that the facility would be well utilised. He appealed to the state governor to provide the school with generating set.
On his part the school prefect, Tochukwu Kelechi, who spoke on behalf of the students, said that the science laboratory would definitely change the way science subjects are taught in the school. He appealed to the state governor to provide Ibeku High School with a school bus. The students entertained their guests with songs and cultural dances to express their appreciation.