An Institute Crying For Help

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Heavy flood is at the verge of destroying the metallurgical training institute, MTI, Onitsha despite the giant stride of its present management

By Ovie Edomi

The metallurgical training Institute, located at kilometer 6/7 Onitsha – Owerri road, Onitsha is acknowledged as one of the institutions established by Act of Parliament to train low and middle man power for the mines and steel sector of the Nigerian economy with a view to developing the nation and making it an industrialized one. This vision dates back to 1979 when Nigeria established the institute in collaboration with the Germans.
The idea was to provide low and middle man power to tackle the mining and steel needs of Nigeria that can make Nigeria compete with other industrialized nations across the world. Over the years the metallurgical training institute has lived up to expectation especially with its proven track record of excellent performance and innovations as well as service delivery in the country with respect to training of young persons in the steel and mining sector of the Nigeria economy. Even then, there are many things that are affecting the astrological growth of the institute.
With collaboration of the federal ministry of mines and steel and subventions from the federal government, MTI, Onitsha as an institute of government has continued to develop and successfully train personnel for some agencies of government as well as award diploma certificates to different persons who got admission into the institute over the last several decades.
Somehow this national monument is at the verge of being washed away by heavy flood. So far, erosion has destroyed two hostels and part of the institute’s fence. Also the institute’s main link road has been destroyed and washed away.
When this reporter visited the institute early last month, precisely August 10th, 2022, the odour from a waste dump directly opposite the entrance of the institute on the Onitsha- Owerri federal high way is enough to cause a pandemic.
Curiously, a resident of the area said it all began 12years ago when the Anambra State Government decided to turn a large space of land considered as a deep trench to a waste dump. Whereas, the deep trench has for decades served as a deep channel where flood water flow into from the Onitsha/Owerri expressway axis. Instead of the Anambra State Government to probably direct the flood water that enters the deep trench to the River Niger, the state government converted the deep trench to a waste dump and the water that flowed into the deep trench was diverted to the metallurgical training institute.
Since the State Government did the diversion of flood water to the Institute, living and working in the nation’s pioneer training institute for mines and steel Professionals has been a nightmare.
For instance, when it rains, students and staff who live in residential quarters of the institution are compelled to remain indoor for not less than two hours. Even when it rains heavily elsewhere within the Onitsha/Owerri axis or inside the town, and the flood water flows through the dumpsite, the water and huge wastes end up inside the institute.
When the magazine reporter visited the institute, aside the two classrooms and fence that have given way, even the institute football pitch has been destroyed.
There are fears that some of the landmark projects in the institute may be equally washed away in the not too distant future if nothing is done. For instance, the 800 meter new road project that leads to different workshops, the newly built structure housing thermo-dynamic heat laboratory, strength of material laboratory, instrumentation and control systems laboratory and fluid Mechanics Laboratory, amongst others; could gradually give way if help does not come from relevant agencies of government.
Meanwhile, the same flood that is causing MTI, Onitsha so much concern had in 2021 cut Onitsha/Owerri expressway, a federal road into two. Those with inside knowledge say the federal road just like the metallurgical Training Institute, MTI , is under threat again.
Investigation revealed that as staff and students of the institute live in fear, the Chief Executive of the Institute has approached NEMA, the ministry of works and Ecological fund for assistance. This was after the school’ management’s plea to Anambra State Government failed to get any attention.
Equally, the ministry of mines and steel, the supervisory ministry of the institute has been approached and indications are that the ministry has taken up the matter with the ministry of works as well as the Ecological funds.
Whether the Supervisory Ministry will allow MTI, Onitsha to be completely wash away remains to be seen. For now expectations are high that help will come the way of MTI soon.

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