As you have been the DG for over 2 years, what progression has been made?
During a retreat ion 2019, council, management and stakeholders sat down to make several decisions. Based on those decisions, we have been making changes in three areas. To have the infrastructure and facilitate our activities, realign our programmes to the needs of Nigeria today and finally to expand on our current human resources, employing and training new staff to ensure we can deliver the institutes mandate.
I have seen a report that you said in 5 years you’ve trained 6000 people, how have you managed this?
So, our previous programmes have either been long or short term, including diploma courses, certificate courses, advanced diploma courses, postgraduate and Master programmes. We have been using these for a long time, however more recently we looked into doing more and looked at industry and international best practices and how we could put these in place. We followed process by approaching the National Board for Technical Education, for approval and 5 were approved into the National Innovation Diploma Programme in 2021, then in 2022, 6 have been added under National and Higher National Diploma levels. The National Innovation Diploma Programme began with 80 students and the other two should be starting in January 2023. After following all pre procedures and we have gotten them listed under the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, we are ready to begin them this month.
Is there the workforce to run these programmes?
Adding personnel with bachelors and masters degrees, we have increased manpower in various fields, so yes.
Are there any main challenges?
The number one obstacle is finance, other than that is awareness across the industry. Making people understand that training is imperative is difficult, we have attempted this by showing what impact we can have throughout the automotive industry. We also have the challenge of the enabling Act. The one we currently work with was created 36 years ago, with a lot of changes happening since and it needs reviewing and amending to fit with current affairs and logistics in the transport industry.
The bill raised at the National Assembly, what is happening with it?
It has undergone first and second readings in the House of Representatives, it has been through public hearing, we are now at the stage of approval from the House of Representatives, after which it goes to the Senate. Our stakeholders can be thanked for their utmost support in this.
I have seen one of the NITT training centres at Ekiti State. So apart from Ekiti, do you have any others?
There are two kinds of training centres; the outreach learning centres are in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Ebonyi, Gombe Kano State and Katsina State, with us building another in Makurdi, Benue State. The second kind are the driver development centres, the programme has started in six geopolitical zones. We have started one here in Zaria, one in Ilorin and the last in Ughelli, Delta State. Once these are completely up and running, we will move onto another three.
In terms of driving license centres, isn’t it the NITT’s responsibility to certify driving schools? As you are leaving that responsibility with FRSC.
We have seen issues with driver training, licensing and development throughout the country, so we aren’t not taking responsibility, as much as re strategising to ensure Nigeria gets the best practice. This is why we have ventured into driver training with our centres, so that we can encourage and facilitate safe practice throughout the country. We are working alongside the Federal Road Safety Corps, and Driving School Proprietors and Associations to achieve this.
During your recent work visit to Lagos State Government, how far did talks go about Transport Data collation?
The Lagos State Government are good partners with us. We recapped all that Lagos State has achieved with the Commissioner, and they are much further ahead than the rest of Nigeria with modern systems for traffic. We have introduced our effort to achieve a National Integrated Data System for the Nigeria Transport sector, and we understand what the state government needs to do and what NITT is doing.
Is the National Integrated Data System live now?
We have begun works on it yes, we are beginning by establishing the infrastructure that will be enable us to gather data operations of the system across all the modes of transport. We are setting gantries on some highways in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Works. Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Lokoja Highway, Kaduna City and Basawa road here. The gantries will be equipped with cameras to capture vehicle traffic movement in real-time and twenty four hours a day. We would like these facilities nation wide, with a central location monitoring the traffic across the Nigeria highways all at once that the state governments can tap into to monitor. The TMC’s will be linked to an intelligent centre we are establishing here in Zaria.
What is the NITT’s contribution to National Development?
NITT has trained thousands on Nigerians in operations, engineering and managing transport, some of these trainees becoming experts and leaders within the industry. After we began, universities and polytechnics started running transport programmes. We’ve also contributed in the policies aspect within governments and agencies.
Source: Transport Day, January 2023.
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