THE DUSTS ARE NOW SETTLING IN FUNAI
History was made in the Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI), Ebonyi State on Wednesday, 20th September, 2017, as the first stone-based asphalted road in the institution was done. One of the greatest challenges that have confronted the institution since its establishment on February 26th, 2011 was the dearth of well-laid out intra-campus roads.
The University which sits on over 400 hectares of land had no single asphalted road within the campus, leaving staff and students to trudge through heavy dusts during dry seasons and mud in the rainy seasons, with its attendant health hazards on the University community.
In fact, the issue of dusts was so pronounced to the extent that some students with health challenges like asthma had to be on edge during the dry seasons, making the University health center to always be on red alert to avoid casualty of any sort. Staff and visitors alike had their own bitter stories to tell as regards the dusts issue
Nevertheless, the University Management, from February 2016 decided to take the bull by the horns. Firstly, it approved some palliative measures to arrest the ugly situation. Often, University water tanker was engaged to pour water on the roads to mitigate the incidence of dust. Earth moving equipment was also used during the rainy season to scrape out the mud from the road to make it friendly to road users. Secondly and more importantly, it took cognizance of the fact that the yearly budgetary allocation to the University cannot do much in that regard. So, instead of waiting helplessly and complaining as most people would do, the Management embarked on innovative ways to get the roads permanently fixed.
Through the ingenuity of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, architectural designs of important intra-campus roads within the University were made. It also identified all the ecological challenges confronting the institution, including its environmental impact on the community. Armed with this, a proposal was sent to the Presidency, Ecological Office, Abuja for intervention. Fully motivated by the need to make a difference, the Vice Chancellor followed up the proposal with all intent and purpose, contacting all those that matter to help in arresting the endemic problem.
That doggedness paid off when President Mohammadu Buhari approved an ecological fund intervention worth N1.498 billion to tackle environmental challenges confronting the University. The approval was the first of its kind in any Nigerian University. Through this fund, the ongoing roads, culverts and drainage construction works in the University started.
By November 2017, the entire project is expected to be completed, leaving the University with well-paved asphalted intra campus road networks, good drainage systems and well-laid out culverts.
Indeed, the proverbial FUNAI dusts are now settling, as the institution now has its first set of asphalted roads.