Varsities Barely Staying Afloat As They Strive to Fulfill Responsibilities Amidst Harsh Economy

MOUAU VC Says Institution Spends N44m Monthly on Fuel

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Amidst the harsh economic situation in the country, persistent underfunding and interruption of academic sessions, public funded universities in Nigeria are barely staying afloat to carry out their responsibilities.

Vice-chancellor of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike(MOUAU), Professor Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe stated this yesterday at a press conference ahead of the 11th Convocation ceremony of the institution.

“I can say with every sense of responsibility but without a fear of contradiction, that all Nigerian Universities owned by government are yet to recover from the impact of both Covid-19 pandemic and the eight months long industrial action by industrial unions,” he said.

Nonetheless, the MOUAU VC said that the institution has “tried to navigate through this challenge by combining two academic sessions in the last session to make sure that we meet up and graduate more students”.

Not only that, Prof Iwe noted that the institution has continued to grapple with the problems of “inadequate physical facilities, poor funding, non-release of take-off grant from government, high demand for public utilities, especially electricity and water.

In fact, he disclosed that MOUAU spends as much as N44 million on fuel monthly in order to supply electricity to the University community.

Prof Iwe: MOUAU contributes immensely to Nigeria’s human capital development.According to him, the ivory tower named after the late premier of the defunct eastern region, has over the past 30 years “cumulatively made a giant stride in academics, human capital development, infrastructure, community service and administration”.

He said: “Our graduates are part of the manpower that have been contributing immensely towards the socio-economic and political development of the nation.

“In line with the vision of our founding fathers, many of our products have become established farmers, employers of labour and major contributors towards ensuring food security in Nigeria”.

On the 11th Convocation ceremony, the MOUAU VC said that a total of 8,369 graduands would receive various types of degrees and diplomas.

He gave the breakdown, saying that 6,917 would receive Bachelors degrees, 159 Postgraduate diploma; 802 Masters Degree, and Doctorate Degree, 491.

The VC further stated that among those graduating with Bachelors Degree, 121 got first class, 1,941 second class upper, 3,063 Second Class Lower Division, 1,121 Third Class while six others obtained pass.

He said that even with “the brick walls we face”, MOUAU has continued to make “remarkable headway in various key areas”, citing the transformation of the institution into entrepreneurial University.

Prof Iwe pointed out that the drive for entrepreneurship was “in line with our dream of ensuring that (MOUAU) attains a level of enterprise that would enhance its resources”.

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