President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared that siting the University of Transportation in Daura, Katsina State, will boost local capacity, economy, domestic technology, enhance innovation in the nation’s transport system and create more job opportunities.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the university, President Buhari noted that the transport sector was in dire need of new thinking, skills and investments, assuring that the institution would open up greater opportunities for economic growth.“The project is part of Federal Government’s efforts at promoting and developing indigenous capacity through technology acquisition and knowledge transfer to effectively maintain and operate railway infrastructure,” he said.
In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu yesterday, the President said government would pursue its policy on development of indigenous capacity vigorously.“When established, the university would, among other things, pave way for domestication of railway engineering and general transportation sciences in Nigeria, thereby bridging the technology and skill gaps in the railway and transportation sector,” he added.
President Buhari said the university, which is an investment by China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), would be fully supported by the Federal Government with guidelines to ensure domestication that would support local infrastructure.While commending the Ministry of Transportation for the initiative and the Katsina State Government for providing land for the institution, the President said his administration would continue to prioritise railway transportation to reduce cost of transportation and ease movement across the country.
Speaking, Governor Aminu Bello Masari noted that the university would further boost the state’s efforts at providing sound education and technical skills to indigenes of the state.He added that the state’s infrastructure had improved with the construction of roads, adding that the university would further provide requisite technical and managerial skills.
Meanwhile, amidst controversies trailing the siting the institution in Daura, President Buhari’s hometown, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the decision was totally his and was not influenced from any quarters. Explaining how the idea of the university was conceived, he stated that he had insisted on the construction of the university of transportation, a factory for the construction of locomotives, coaches and wagons and training of Nigerians students in Chinese universities on transportation technology.
He stated that this would facilitate management of the country’s growing rail infrastructure as a prerequisite before signing the agreement for the Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line with the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC). “When we sighted the factory at Kajola, there was no noise, nobody debated it and nobody abused us. Nobody influenced me. Anybody who accuses me of being a sycophant, I admit it in advance that I am a sycophant. And if you know the President very well, you will know that sycophancy does not sit well with him,” he added.