President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Tertiary Education Trust Fund to continue to offer meaningful and purposeful interventions in Nigeria’s higher education institutions to realise government’s desire to create knowledge based economy.
The President gave the directive at the 2nd and 3rd combined convocation of the Federal University, Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State.
Benn Ebikwo, Director, Corporate Affairs, TETFund, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to Ebikwo, Buhari commended TETFund activities, describing its interventions as the catalyst for achieving the desired knowledge-based economy for Nigeria by the present administration.
The president urged the fund to continue in its meaningful and purposeful interventions to all public owned tertiary institutions in the country.
He said: “I am also happy with the special role of the TETFund in the physical and academic development of this young university.
“It is clear that since the establishment of the Federal University, Dutsin-Ma, the TETFund has remained the single, largest development agent in the institution.
“I urge the TETFund to continue to offer meaningful and purposeful interventions in Nigeria’s higher education institutions to realise our government’s desire to create knowledge based economy in Nigeria.”
Buhari, represented by Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, expressed delight over the completion and inauguration of the multi-billion Naira physical infrastructure projects sponsored by TETFund at the University.
He explained that the projects inaugurated during the convocation were a clear indication of the resolve of his administration to tackle the problem of access to tertiary education in the country.
Buhari promised that he would continue to fight the challenges of unemployment, particularly graduate unemployment through the creation of thriving and dynamic labour market.
He said: “This would enable young people achieve their full potential as self-employed entrepreneurs and employers of labour rather than merely job seekers.
“I want to challenge all Nigerian universities to come out of their shell to build constructive linkages and collaborations with the industrial sector of the society.
“This remains the vibrant way we can enhance the socio-economic and technological transformation of our society.”
The president promised that the government would continue to give maximum support to university education despite dwindling resources available to it.
Buhari, however, said that universities should seriously consider more efficient ways of resource mobilisation and also find ways of attracting funding for research from across the world.
Also speaking, the Chancellor of the University, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, and the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Armaya’u Hamisu Bichi thanked TETFund for the facilities at the university.
They called for more intervention to help the university move to its permanent site soonest.
The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Dr Abdullahi Baffa, who spoke while inaugurating the projects, lauded the Management of the University for delivering quality works with TETFund interventions.
Baffa promised that his management would not rest on its oars in pursuing interventions that would meet the desires of the Federal Government.
He explained that provision of infrastructure for teaching and learning activities were aimed at ensuring that the dream of increased access to quality higher education for all Nigerians became a reality.
He said: “Aside the normal annual interventions from TETFund, the university had benefited to the tune of about N5billion as special intervention for take-off grant, proto-type hostels, academic buildings among others.”
The projects commissioned during the convocation include senate building, faculties of Agriculture and Science buildings, Information and Communication Technology Complex, and Library building.
Also, Faculty of Agriculture, Laboratories, Students’ Hall of Residence for Males and Females were inaugurated.
A total of 837 students graduated during the convocation with 42 obtaining first class degrees.