A team from the Federal Ministry of Environment  (FME) has visited the Africa Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL) for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Impact Mitigation Monitoring (IMM) exercise on the proposed construction of the Centre on Thursday, March 28, 2024, at the University headquarters in Abuja.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olufemi Peters, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Technology, Innovation and Research (TIR) Prof. Godwin Akper, received the team in the VC’s office, he assured the team of the university’s compliance to provide an Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) unit for the Centre and make sure it functions optimally.

Prof. Akper assured them of ACETEL’s compliance with all the necessary standards.

The Director, ACETEL, Prof. Grace Jokthan, while addressing the FME team at the ACETEL Virtual Conference room, welcomed and appreciated them for showing up for the inspection after the initial postponement of the visit. She introduced ACETEL team members at the meeting to the FME team.

She assured the monitoring team that fliers have been designed to show that a building project is ongoing while neighbors around the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) have been notified about the ongoing project.

Jokthan also assured the team that a Health, Safety and Environment Unit will be created for the Centre before their next visit.

The team lead and Deputy Director, FME, Mrs. Adelaide Okocha, while presiding over the meeting, stated that she and her team are visiting the ACETEL construction site to ensure that the resources given to them for the building project is used and implemented.

She said “Monitoring will continue until we feel ACETEL has complied and the Corporate Environment Performance is complied to.”

Speaking further, Okocha said “We are disclosing you’re your environmental responsibilities so that people will know what you’re doing because you have communities around you, so they need to know that what you’re doing will not impact them negatively.”

During a visit to the Vice Chancellors Office, Okocha reiterated the importance of a Health, Safety and Environment Unit for the Centre, she said the unit unit will ensure the safety of the Centre and everyone working there, as it is meant to handle health emergencies, and should not be over-looked.

ACETEL Environmental Safety Guard Officer, Dr. Petu Ibikunle, while briefing the house, informed the FME team of processes the Centre has completed in an effort to actualize the building project.

He said the World Bank guidelines have been implemented.

“We got the environmental specialist to guide us on how the building should look like, got it approved and to start the project we organized a training for the consultants and workers for the project to sensitize them on the codes of conduct as they work on the project and how to use the first aid box in case of injuries.

He said workshop has been held to sensitize tuck drivers on the dangers of taking cannabis while driving and not to constitute nuisance to neighbours, the university and to adhere to the rules of engagement of building construction and to follow the law.

A Staff from DPDW&S, Aisha     , while also briefing the FME team on the processes that were taken to begin the building, she said “the soil test was done and given to the engineer, we asked them to do the foundation before the rain begins.”

According to Aisha, “I and my Deputy Director, Architect       representing Directorate of Public Development, Works & Services (DPDW&S) in the university ensured the structure is approved by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).”

“We the Works and Planning, are the middlemen between ACETEL and the Consultants as the channel of communication for any needs for the building.”

She said regarding waste management on the site, there’s provision for waste to be taken off site and there are also waste bins on site.

The FME team visited the ACETEL building construction site to inspect the  construction work that is going on to ensure compliance.

At the site,  ACETEL building Project consultant, Architect Matthew Onoba explained every process that has been taken in the ongoing project to the FME team .

He said, “On our part we have been strong on the contractors to ensure health and safety requirements are met.”

“When the project started, as consultants, we were on site with them every week and we held meetings with them every week.”

“We have architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers on the site.”

The FME team lead, Mrs. Okocha commended the work and also noted areas for improvement.

Loretta Edozie