President Muhammadu Buhari has said that graduating students who distinguish themselves by earning First Class degrees should be given automatic employment in the federal and other universities across the country.
Buhari spoke as a visitor at the 23rd, 24th and 25th joint convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, where he noted that the nation’s drive for advancement in agriculture depends largely on the success achieved in research, science and technology.
“There is no better place suitable to realise this vision than the universities of agriculture amongst which the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi occupies a prominent position,” he said.
The President added that the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, must continue to lead in innovative research targeted at providing solutions to the numerous problems affecting the Nigerian farmers, from the use of crude implements to atavistic methods and techniques of agricultural production.
The president said the quest to move the economic landscape away from oil in favour of agriculture must be pursued through reinvigorating the educational institutions especially the universities where research and innovation thrive.
He commended the team of scientists from the university for their ground-breaking researches which had resulted to remarkable scientific discoveries including the patent for two cowpea varieties: FUAMPEA1 and FUAMPEA2, noting that “these breakthroughs have become a giant leap for cowpea farming across the West African Sub-Region.”
“The country is really proud of these developments. We want to see you grow into a centre of excellence in seed development, root crops and tropical agriculture,” he said.
Buhari whose prepared speech was read by the executive secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed said: “It is important to reiterate that the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, like other Nigerian universities must brace up to the challenges of global competitiveness by positioning itself strategically among top universities in Africa and the world.
“If our vision of a great nation is to be attained, universities must be in the forefront of dissemination of first class knowledge and innovations. We require a sound educational system to train high level manpower to produce food to feed our vast-growing population and industries.
“As the government alone cannot fully fund education, I implore all universities to establish linkages, partnerships and collaborations with relevant foreign and domestic institutions; organisations and agencies to enable them to attract additional funds and research outlets.
“Our commitment to the tripartite policy objectives of this administration in tackling corruption, insecurity and diversification of the economy remain unwavering. While the economy is being revamped, using agriculture as the main contributor to our GDP, the fight against corruption and insecurity was recently reinvigorated with the signing of bilateral agreements with other countries aimed at taking the war on corruption and insecurity across our national borders.
“I urge all of you to join forces with the government in the crusade against corruption which we must kill to survive as a nation. Our security architecture has been strengthened, refocused and emboldened to ensure that our country is safe for economic activities to thrive,” he said.