The President and Visitor, Federal University of Technology, Minna (FUT Minna), Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has said that the directive to enroll all Federal Government employees drawing their salaries from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) was irreversible.
The President said this in his speech at the 29th convocation ceremony of Federal University of Technology, Minna that opposition to the directive was “akin to economic sabotage.”
The President who was represented by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said: “Just as we are diversifying our economy, tapping into other streams of revenue to revamp our economy, so are we resolute on plugging loopholes in public finance to eliminate fraud and serve funds which can be used to address challenges such as infrastructure deficit and unemployment.”
He also said that Government remained mindful to the cardinal role of science and technology in national development which “informed our decision to review admission ratio in favour of science and technology programmes in our tertiary institutions,” adding that government was strongly committed to improving the standards of education in the long term.
That is why we gave education the second highest sectorial allocation in the 2020 appropriation bill with N652.94 billion. In addition, we allotted N272 billion to the Tertiary Trust Education Fund (TETFund) in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for projects in our tertiary institutions. All this point to the fact that we are determined to improve our educational system within are available resources.
He admonished the graduands that, the degree which you have been conferred with today have empowered you to be potential job creators. Think innovatively and build synergies through the relationships you have established in school to advance your fortunes in life while our government continues to work assiduously to create more job opportunities.
He said he has a firm believe that Nigeria will remain one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity. However, achieving this requires the commitment of the citizenry to common good. I therefore urged the youth, especially graduates who have been trained in cosmopolitan environments like our universities, to eschew all forms of prejudice as in all their endeavours, going forward.
He observe, there is a lot we can achieve in this country if we look inward. I am convinced that our country has the wherewithal, in terms of human resources to turn our fortunes around. As we focus on investing in infrastructural development and other sectoral reforms, we expect the academia and industry to build viable synergies for our technological growth. In view of this, I urge our universities to take up the challenge of channeling their research and innovation efforts into solving some of their institutional mediate needs and those of the host communities.
The chancellor of the university, his Eminence Eze (Dr.) Eberechi N. Dick (jp), Eze udo 1 of mgboko ngwa amaise autonomous community, Abia state, in his address of welcome congratulated the graduands, parents, guardians and well-wishers for achieving the milestone. He urged them to be good ambassadors of university in wherever they may find themselves.
He told them that the certificate they receive today is a license for them to transform the world into a better place, be the change agents that the country truly need and provide innovative practical solutions to the litany of problems facing the development of this country.
He said that the ongoing massive infrastructural development in the University is largely due to the Federal Government’s release of various funds in 2019. He expressed profound appreciation and assured his Excellency, the Visitor, that the University will reciprocate this gesture by prudently deploying the funds to critical areas that ensure the delivery of the university’s mandate in science and technology.
He appreciated the Governing Council, Management of the University for changing the narrative of Council and Management relationship in Nigerian universities. The harmonious working relationship between this present Council and Management has been adjudged as the best in the history of the University
He thanked staff and students of the University, for providing the much needed support for the Management to succeed.
The pro-chancellor and chairman of the governing council of the university of technology, Prof. Femi Odekunle in his speech implored each graduand to apply the entrepreneurial skills acquired in the university to exploit the opportunities ‘that abound in the world out there, endeavour to become highly sought-after service-providers and/or employers of labour, and be recognized as trail blazers and leading lights that they have been trained to be by the University.
He said Governing Council has continued with its pursuit of policies and positions that guarantee and encourage development of staff and students, that enhance knowledge-generation and dissemination, that ensure quality and award-winning research output, that further harmonious relations between the University and its host community and among the constituent group of the University community itself, and that promote positive value-orientation with respect to discipline and integrity. The letter explains the University’s zero tolerance for (and virtual immunity from) any type of corruption and sexual misconduct.
He also said that as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, the main job and responsibility of Council has been to maintain and further the enhancement of the enviable brand of Federal University of Technology, Minna, as a performing, peaceful and secure University that is “national” in orientation, national in student composition, and national in staff “mix”. To my mind, this we have done creditably and I wish to assure all our stakeholders that this we shall continue to do as we move from one level to another higher level. In this regard, I thank my colleagues on the Governing Council for their loyalty, cooperation and support.
He thanked the following: the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for his continued confidence in us; the Honourable Minister of Education for his continued support and the leaderships of TETFund and NUC for their invaluable provisions, my colleagues on the Governing Council for their support in keeping the university on the path of discipline, integrity, probity, accountability and due process: the entire Management, Senate and staff of the University for their dedication to duty; and the staff and students Unions for their cooperation in the smooth running of the institution and the maintenance of peace on our campuses.
Finally, he congratulated the graduands, their parents and relations and I wish all the graduands success in their future endeavours.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Abdullahi Bala, in his address said consistent with its vision, the Federal University of Technology, Minna, has continued to maintain its eminent position as a leading specialised university and has maintained its position among the top ten Nigerian and top one hundred African universities. He enumerated the university’s achievements for last one year to includes Staff motivation, Infrastructural Development, Research, Innovations, Creativity and Development and Alumni Achievements.
To boost staff morale and reward hard work, the University recognised exceptional achievements within and outside the University through the SERVICOM Award Ceremony that held in 2019. Twenty nine (29) members of staff were identified under various categories as follows:
Academic Programme Consistent-with its mandate, the university has continued to strive for quality and relevance of its Academic programmes. Senate of the University approved a number of new programmes within the period under review. These included the Bachelor of Technology degrees in Information Technology, Digital Media Technology and Library Information Technology, as well as Bachelor of Engineering in Mining Engineering. The Bachelor of Technology Applied Geophysics underwent resource verification and was granted approval by the NUC. The Department of Horticulture was carved out of the Department of Crop Production, while the Industrial Technology Education Programme was restructured into two programmes, namely Construction Technology Education and Electrical and Electronics Education.
The new postgraduate programmes approved include PhD and M.Tech programmes in Food Science and Technology as well as Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health. The West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), which is primarily funded by the German Government, gave approval for its Master’s Research Programme (MRP) to be upgraded to a Doctoral Research Programme (DPR) on Climate Change and Human Habitat (CCHH). The programme has commenced with eleven (11) students from different West Afrlcon countries admitted. Additionally, the African Centre of Excellence in Mycotoxin and Food Safety (ACEMFS) secured the approval of Senate for PhD and M.Tech programmes in Food Safety, Toxicology, and Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics. The admission process for the programmes is ongoing. At the close’ of application, a total of 103 candidates from Nigeria and 78 from nine other West and Central African countries had applied.
To ensure that academic activities are carried out in line with the’ mission of the University, an “eagle eyed” Committee on Monitoring and Quality Teaching was constituted under the chairmanship of a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor [Accdemic), Prof, Akim Osunde. Currently, all academic staff are being’ encouraged to upload their courseware online, among other improvements, prior to the commencement of each Semester, to facilitate effective learning.
The University’s objective of expanding access to university education was further realised with the recent approval by NUC for Hassan Usman Katsina Polytechnic to run an affiliation programme with the University.
Additional institutions, including “Niger State Polytechnic Zungeru Federal Polytechnic Ado Ekiti, Federal Polytechnic Ilaro and Niger State College of Education are at various stages of discussion with the University for affiliation. I am happy to announce that 4he -University has obtained NUC’s approval to commence Open and Distance learning (ODL) programme seven years after our first attempt.
Approval has been given for us to run B.Tech degree programme in Computer Science via ICT-enabled learning model of ODL. The University has taken advantage of the recently approved NUC policy on Transnational Education to enter into a twinning model institutional-collaboration with the Girne American University of Cyprus for an international degree programme in selected disciplines.
During the year under review, sixteen academic programmes of the University underwent NUC accreditation, the results of which are being awaited. Several programmes in Engineering, Architecture, Quantity Surveying, Building and Animal Science were also visited by accreditation panels of the respective professional bodies and, I am happy to announce that all were successful.
In infrastructural funding from TETFund and Needs Assessment Fund for the Revitalisation of public universities have enabled us to substantially address our infrastructural needs at the Gidan Kwano Campus. The School of Engineering and Engineering Technology Phase II building has been completed, as well as the 40 male and female public lavatories with boreholes in academic areas.
The constructions of the School of life Sciences and School of Physical Sciences are ongoing in earnest. The completion of the two complexes later in the year will enable the university relocate the two schools from the Bosso Campus to the Gidan Kwano Campus. Other ongoing projects at various levels of completion include the Department of Cyber Security Sciences building and 250 seat lecture Theatre for the School of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
It is also my pleasure to announce that the University is a beneficiary of ongoing projects to provide a Mini” ICT Square for R&D by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and an ICT Hub by the National Information Technology Development
Agency (NITDA). Both ore at different stages of completion and are expected to provide state-of-the art facilities ‘for training and research in 21st century technologies. Construction of the first of three clusters of students’ hostel by Urban Shelter ltd also commenced in 2019.
In addition to physical projects, the university also carried out extensive maintenance work in students’ hostels and academic areas, and spent over N30 million on books; journals and e-resources for the library. We also expended over N400 million, principally from the Needs Assessment Fund for the procurement of equipment and furnishing of laboratories.
The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) also supported the University with equipment that was used to establish, the Digital and Malware Detection Laboratories at the Department of Cyber Security Science. These Investments in equipment and library resources went a long way in not only enhancing our preparedness for the 201 9 accreditation exercise Conducted by the NUC, but also certainly our capacity to deliver high quality practical training to our students and to conduct research.
The research profile of the University has been rising steadily and drawing accolades from far and near. Some of the international grants attracted by the University in 2019 include: Artificial Intelligence for Clear) Energy (£155,465.00 or approximately N73,000,000 Naira funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering UK); The European Commission Intra Africa Academic Mobility Programme (£ 1,400,000.00) secured by a consortium of five African universities led by Rhodes University, South Africa; African Research Network for Urbanisation and Habitable Cities grant (£609,772.60) secured by another consortium involving FUT Minna and led by the University of Lagos.
A robust relationship has continued to exist between the university and its alumni, which has led to a successful hosting of its 2nd Global Reunion in 2019. The Association has developed a business plan for its ‘Shea Invest’, an investment drive that would develop 3w\z`2facility, machinery/dryer and general employment for not just our graduates but also the community at large.
Additionally, a ground breaking ceremony for a 5000-bed Alumni Hostel Development Project took place during the 2019. Reunion, in the bid to reduce the scarcity of good quality hostel accommodation for the students.
He presented a summary statistics for the graduating students. Graduation Statistics At this convocation ceremony, by the authority of the University Senate, we shall be awarding Degrees and diplomas to deserving students for the 2018/2019 academic session. On the whole, the total number of students found worthy in character and learning are ‘four thousand five hundred and two (4,502). Three thousand five hundred and ninety seven (3,597) students shall receive First Degrees and these include 1 39 students from our affiliate institutions, namely: Federal College of Education (Technical), Potiskum (1 05); Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka (11); and Kaduna Polytechnic (23).
The breakdown of the classes of degrees for the graduands are as follows: First Class (57 or 2%), Second Class Upper (926 or 26%), Second Class Lower (1733 or 48%), Third Class (836 or 23%) and Pass (45 or 1 %). Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to announce that OGUNFOLAJI, Yusuf Oluwasegun of the Department of Civil Engineering in the School of Infrastructure and Process Engineering Technology (SIPET) is the overall best graduating student in the 2018/2019 academic session with a CGPA of 4.82.
The Postgraduate School of the University continues to ensure that students graduate as and when due as the far reaching reforms introduced by the University in 2018 are being strictly adhered to. The Postgraduate School shall be awarding 182 Postgraduate diplomas, 629 master’s degrees and 94 doctoral degrees amounting to a total of nine hundred and fifty six (956) graduands. The total is inclusive of graduands of our affiliate programme in College of Basic and Advanced Studies, Yauri.
He admonished the graduands that hand that gives is always above that which receives; therefore, aim at being an employer rather than being an employee. As you do so, also remember and give back to your alma mater and keep us abreast of your progress especially through the platform of the Alumni Association.
He thank the visitor of the University, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for his general- vision and support for the University system, which have helped in minimising disruptions to academic calendar, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FilM, has proved to be a great friend of, and pillar of support to the University.
The Honourable Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, Management and staff of the Ministry have continued to support the University in our moments of need; we are, therefore, very grateful. Also worthy of mention, are the Executive Secretary NUC, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed mni, MFR, FNAL, Management and staff of the Commission, who have tirelessly and supported us in very many ways to ensure quality and well being of the University System. The unprecedented support we have been receiving from the Executive Secretary TETFund and his team is highly appreciated and acknowledged.