Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has appealed to the Federal Government to increase its allocation to federal universities of agriculture in the country.
Ikpeazu made the call on Saturday at the eighth convocation of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), near Umuahia.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari “for refocusing on agriculture as a way out of the economic doldrums in Nigeria.”
He described the decision to revive the nation’s agricultural sector as lofty but noted that it ought to have come earlier.
He further spoke on the Federal Government’s directive to critical federal tertiary institutions, including MOUAU, to revert to their core mandate.
“As Abia citizens, our desire would have been for this university to continue to train our children in different areas of academics, irrespective of their inclinations.
“This is because we do not have any other federal institution that can fill the gap except this great institution,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted the governor as saying.
He added that the global challenges of survival faced by graduates of such institutions would require the dynamics of training in all fields of human endeavour in a comprehensive curriculum, to enable them to perform better.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, restated Federal Government’s commitment to transform agriculture and make it the mainstay of the nation’s economy.
Ogbeh, represented by the Abia State director in the ministry, Mr Eziri Ebere, said the present administration had introduced a number of programmes to resuscitate agriculture.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Francis Otunta, listed some achievements as the accreditation of 20 out of the 21 programmes in 2016, plus eight out of nine additional programmes in May/June,developmental projects in the university, noting that the institution received over N2.1bn, representing 40 per cent of the 2013/2014 NEEDS Assessment Fund, to resume work on abandoned projects.
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