By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology, (NITT) Zaria is a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Transportation charged with the responsibility of training professionals and developing skills of personnel for the purpose of maintaining efficient and effective transport system in Nigeria.
In its 35 years of existence, the Institute which was established on the 14th of March, 1986 via Decree No.6 (now CAP 116, LFN, 2004) as the apex management development Institute for transport and logistics in Nigeria and the West African Sub-region, it has not recorded massive development like it witnessed in the last one year.
Incidentally, despite abundant human and material resources, and modern state of state of the art facilities, NITT still grapples with challenges ranging from inadequate funding, poor visibility, and low patronage of its academic programmes and services. Changing this narrative became a major policy issue of the new Governing Council and Management.
According to the Director-General/Chief Executive, Dr. Bayero Salih-Farah, “one of our major objectives is to achieve visibility for NITT. We think we can become visible and let the world know what is going on here and by that means, draw the needed attention and patronage. We therefore believe that it is important we let the world know what we have the programmes we run, as well as our facilities and services”
Speaking to journalists recently in his office in Zaria, the DG said although his confirmation as the Director General/Chief Executive of the Institute came shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Nigeria with its adverse effects on the global economy, the Institute defied the odds by recording modest achievements. These include ultra-modern training facilities and newly completed and renovated ones and those that are on-going.
“It is not only the physical structures that have received facelift, new ones are being constructed; visibility and awareness have improved, staff welfare enhanced and more staff recruited to beef up the manpower needs.
“Also, new NITT centres have been opened across the country while 3 Drivers’ Development and Training Centres are being built in Zaria, Ilorin and Ugheli in Delta State. All of these are geared towards achieving the institute’s mandate of training for efficient and effective transport system in Nigeria”, he stated.
A tour of the facility reveals massive works completed and ongoing, all designed to improve the quality of training and development. In the last one year several projects have been completed including: streamlining the NITT Enabling Act, conditions and Scheme of Service, broadening the scope of the Institute’s programmes and collaborations with support from the relevant authorities and increased participation on the Institute’s short and long term programmes.
Also the following facilities have been renovated, furnished and equipped with electronic gadgets; the NITT Main Auditorium, the Institute’s Library, 20-Room Executive Hostel, Masters in Transport & Logistics Classroom and the NITT Clinic: The NITT Clinic was renovated and expanded in scope and operation to provide medical services to the Institute community and members of the public. Efforts are ongoing to ensure the Clinic begins providing NHIS services.
In the same vein, management has established NITT Annexes in Ebonyi, Kano, Gombe, Ekiti and Katsina states to complement the existing ones in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt, while work is going on in the Makurdi centre. Management has also acquired a 84-hectare parcel of land from Kaduna State Government to establish Institute’s JATHROPA FARM for bio-fuel production and secured another 40-hectare of land from Sabin Gari Local Government in Zaria towards building the Institute’s Drivers Development and Training Centre, while they are on the verge of securing the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) accreditation for running of National Diploma programmes in Crane Operations, Welding and Fabrication and Mechatronics in the Institute. Recently the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities in the Institute were upgraded, such that all the annexes are connected to the Internet.
Completed construction works in the NITT Phase II Participants’ Hostel
Completed construction works in the DG/CE’s new office building
Enhanced water supply in the Institute by drilling more bore-holes and ensuring efficiency
Purchased a brand new generator to backup power supply in the Institute. Ina addition, arrangements have been made with Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company for regular maintenance of the Institutes’ 33KV Power Station to ensure regular supply of electricity
Established and equipped the NITT Multi-media Laboratory with state-of-the-art communication facilities
Established and equipped the National Transport Data Bank facility in the Institutes with state-of-the-art equipment for real-time collection of transport data across all modes
Established and equipped the Multi-lingual Library in the Institute with state-of-the-art language translators to provide for training of participants from Francophone countries especially.
That is not all, several on-going projects litter the NITT landscape making it to be termed construction site. These include; ongoing construction of Training Department Office, Transport School Office Extension, Transport Technology Centre (TTC) Department Blocks of 6 classrooms apiece, TTC Wedding and Fabrication Laboratory, TTC Soil and Pavement Laboratory, new Female and male participants’ hostel, amongst others at various liaison offices across the country.
As a way of improving both the standard and quality of teaching as well as improve its internally generated revenue (IGR), the Institute has established business partnerships and educational collaborations with public and private concerns within and outside Nigeria. The aim is to improve research and training opportunities, give staff and students the opportunities to acquire local and international experiences, study abroad as well as promote best practices in transport logistics. One of them is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with ITS, United Kingdom and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Abuja.
In keeping abreast with trends in the automobile industry, NITT is deepening its research in the development of alternative fuel (bio-fuel & hydrogen fuel) as well as innovative vehicle technology, such as hybrid (electric) vehicles in line with the current government policy. At the moment, the Institute’s team of engineers are working on a modelled hybrid electric tricycle, which it hopes to launch as soon as work is completed on it. Similarly, NITT has deployed a team of committed staff to work on the Institute’s model of electric vehicle in liaison with industry captains and government concerns aimed at making this dream a reality.
Isimilarly, in an effort to stem the rise in cases of injuries and deaths resulting from road traffic accidents (RTA) or crashes construction in the country, works are in the offing at NITT Driver Training and Development Centres in Zaria, Kaduna State, Ugheli, Delta State, and Ilorin, Kwara State towards training of drivers with plans to have similar centres in each state in the country.
“While this initiative is not a panacea in itself, the knowledge and information it will provide, if well applied by motorists especially, would go a long way in reducing road accidents on the roads” the DG said