Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has challenged Universities of Agriculture to bravely confront the heavy dependence of the nation on imported food and raw materials with a view to reducing it to the minimum in the shortest time.
He said the universities must play their crucial specialised role in catalaysing the development of the agricultural sector, in order to achieve the Federal Government’s goal of sustainable green economy.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari said this on Saturday, at the 10th Convocation ceremony of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU), Abia.
The President, who was represented by Dr Mohammed Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the government was looking up to the universities as lead drivers of the agricultural sector.
Buhari, who is Visitor to the university, admitted that the nation had challenges of funding, but said that her endowments were far greater that her constraints.
MOUAU Chancellor, HRH Alhaji Shehu Abubakar commended President Buhari and the university management for the smooth running of the institution.
Abubakar, the Emir of Gombe, congratulated the graduands and urged them to be ambassadors of the university wherever they found themselves.
He commended the university host communities for their cooperation and called on relevant government agencies to extend helping hands in alleviating the problems that hinder the development of the school.
Earlier in his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Maduebibisi Iwe, disclosed that the university was graduating a total of 6,606 students, with 4,115 belonging to the 2018/2019 academic year at the undergraduate and post graduate levels.
Iwe, who is the sixth vice-chancellor, in his breakdown, said 5,817 obtained vachelor’s degree, 92 with postgraduate diploma, 454 had master’s degree while 243 were awarded with doctorate degree.
Iwe said the university had recorded many breakthroughs, but called for significant infusion of funds for the upgrade of its physical environment.
NAN reports that the university conferred honorary degrees on four distinguished Nigerians in recognition of their positive contributions to the society.
The awardees are : Oba Akeem Ogungbangbe, the Ajagbusi-Ekun VI Owaloko of Iloko-Ijesa, Osun; Alhaji Usman Kansila, Founder, UYK Nigeria; Dr Cosmas Maduka, Founder and Chairman of Coscharis Group and Mr Chika Ikenga, Founder and Managing Director of Eunisell.(NAN)