The second batch of 300- Level engineering students from Ahmadu Bello University chosen on account of their high academic performance have left Nigeria for Central South University (CSU), Changsha, China where they are expected to spend two years for a joint double degree programme in traffic and transportation engineering as well as railway equipment and control engineering.
The students, who had already gone to China for the programme, comprised 29 undergraduate and four doctoral students all drawn from Department of Civil Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering.
It would be recalled that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Ahmadu Bello University and Central South University (CSU), Changsha, China to pave way for ABU’s 300-Level engineering students with higher CGPA after a selection interview to go to CSU to complete the remaining two years in order to earn the engineering degree.
The programme is to last for a period of five consecutive years and the essence is to produce sufficient indigenous engineers who will continue to build and sustain railway infrastructure in Nigeria and beyond.
Speaking at a brief but colorful farewell reception for the departing students, the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Prof Ibrahim Garba, said the programme would enable the students to earn dual degrees of China and Nigeria in traffic and transportation engineering respectively.
Prof Garba said ABU invested quite a lot in the programme as over N10 million was spent to freight the students to China and that they should therefore bear in mind that they were going on public funds partly, and then of the CSU’s scholarship.
The Vice-Chancellor, who expressed gratitude to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Chinese Embassy in Nigeria and Central South University, Changsha for the realization of this all important project, expressed hope that by next year CCECC would come up with another scholarship for another set of students to benefit.
“Let me congratulate this second batch of our students that are departing to CSU. By no means, you have also become part of the chosen ones that are going to utilize this very unique opportunity that has come our way in Nigeria and ABU in particular.
“So far, we are very happy to have realized that the first batch that we sent have not disappointed us; they have actually made us very proud by performing very well, living well, respecting the traditions and situations in China; and by so doing, Chinese are equally appreciating and respecting Nigerians”, he said.
Prof Garba, who reminded them that they were not the first set to be in China from ABU, also said they could gain a lot of experience from those that went there before them.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Director, Directorate of University Advancement, Ahmadu Bello University, Prof Adamu Ahmed, recalled that in the last few years the Federal Government had invested a huge amount of resources to build the railway infrastructure all over the country.
Prof Ahmed described the collaboration between China and Nigeria as an opportunity to educate Nigerians towards building a vibrant nation that could stand the test of time.
Speaking on behalf of the benefiting students, Aliyu Kasimu, who expressed gratitude to the university and the Vice-Chancellor for the opportunity, said there was a similarity between China and Nigeria.
The benefitting students promised to not only make Ahmadu Bello University proud but also Nigeria as a whole, assuring that the efforts of the university would never be in vain.
The programme all started in 2017 when ABU was picked out of seven Nigerian universities to begin as a pilot project a 3+2 joint degree programme with China Central South University (CSU), Changsha, where China’s railway technology was first invented.
In September, last year, a total of 45 300-Level students and 13 academic staff all from the Faculty of Engineering were flown to China for the joint Bachelor’s degree programme in engineering at Central South University (CSU), Changsha.
Of the 45 students, 30 were sponsored by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and the other 15 are by CSU. They are expected to specialize in Central South University, especially in civil engineering, traffic and transportation engineering as well as railway equipment and control engineering.