A 100 Level Chemistry student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Miss Zosima Aidomokhai, who was receiving lecture with her coursemates in one of the almost-completed lecture theatres of the higher institution, was excited about new projects in the citadel of learning.
Aidomokhai said: “God will continually bless the tenth substantive/second female Vice-Chancellor of UNIBEN (after the fearless Prof. Grace Alele-Williams), especially for her determination to transform the higher institution. I can also confirm that Prof. Salami is a no-nonsense helmsman.
“My coursemates and I, as well as other students of UNIBEN are comfortable with the seats and ongoing development projects in the university, which is now more beautiful. We are so happy with our vice-chancellor.”
UNIBEN was founded in 1970, but it started as Mid-West Institute of Technology, while it was accorded the status of a full-fledged university by the National Universities Commission (NUC) on July 1, 1971.
The inspected ongoing projects included construction and furnishing of professorial office building and Centre for Educational Technology building, as well as construction of Food Science and Human Nutrition building, one storey laboratory building for the Department of Urulogy, and two 250-seater lecture theatres for medical students at the nearby University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), which was started early this year, among others.
UNIBEN’s Director of Physical Planning, Timmy Ikhisemojie, an architect, who joined the vice-chancellor to inspect the projects, disclosed that dedicating a building under construction to only professors was part of the innovations of Prof. Salami.
He said: “Over three hundred professors are in UNIBEN, while most of them do not have comfortable offices. For research and teaching, the vice-chancellor decided to dedicate a building to the professors. Such that in the big offices, they will be comfortable, especially with their libraries, toilets and ancillary facilities, including offices for their secretaries and computer rooms. Most of the senior professors, about 28, will be accommodated in the new building.
“The executive hostels that we are also building are of international standard and they can accommodate the international students. All the projects are carried out in line with the conditions of the contracts. We have the architectural, civil-structural and mechanical-electrical designs, as well as the bills of quantity, which specify the various standards and specifications for the construction. We are complying with them for safety purpose.
“UNIBEN’s College of Medical Sciences building was earlier abandoned, but construction works are now ongoing at the site. The project was actually started in 2005, but it was abandoned in 2007, due to lack of funding from the Federal Government. Little works were done on the project in 2012 and 2013, but the construction stopped again, until 2019, when we came back to the site, when there was sufficient fund from the Federal Government’s appropriation, to continue with the project. That’s why we are advancing right now.”
The vice-chancellor of UNIBEN, while speaking on his assessment of the ongoing projects at the university’s main campus at Ugbowo on Lagos Road, the second campus on Ekenwan Road, Benin and at UBTH, which is beside the main campus, declared that UNIBEN is doing very well, compared with other institutions.
She said: “We have been able to attract so many projects within the short period that this administration has come into being. We are not doing badly at all.
“We are enjoying the goodwill of the Federal Government, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), a scheme established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2011 to disburse, manage and monitor education tax to government-owned tertiary institutions in Nigeria.