Latest News

News Published in April 2014

For the Attention of 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 Graduates

This is to inform graduates of 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 that are yet to collect their year book to go to Counseling Unit at Unity Building Block B on or before Friday 20th June, 2014 or at Convocation Ground on Saturday 21st June, 2014 with their receipt for collection.

Thank you.

We Are Committed to Promoting Staff Welfare – VC

The Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) and President, Association of African Universities, Professor Olusola Oyewole has reiterated the commitment of the University Management to promoting the welfare of members of staff. Professor Oyewole gave this assurance during the just-concluded training workshop on  Capacity Building on Investment of Pension Fund and Returns of Investment Portfolio, under the old pension scheme and held for the Pension Board of Trustees of FUNAAB, in Badagry, Lagos.
According to him, "our University has continued to pay monthly pension to our pensioners on a regular basis as pensions are taken to various banks on or before 21st of each month. The University is also up-to-date in the payment of various upward reviews of pension by the Federal Government to all our pensioners".


He recalled that in the past years, the University had held series of workshops for would-be retirees of the University on how to set up and manage businesses, saying that available statistics showed that these efforts had yielded tremendous results in the life of retirees.  He added that the University was commited to preparing its staff ahead to face the challenges of retirement. Professor Oyewole, however, encouraged participants at the workshop to obtain information on opportunities on how best to invest their funds. The Vice-Chancellor was represented at the occasion by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Professor Felix Salako.
The Chairman, Planning Committee of the workshop, Professor Peter Okuneye stated that the workshop would enable make participants to be “better-off in the art of financial management and fund utilisation" and that the resource persons were carefully chosen based on their experience, to speak the essential focus of the workshop.
In his presentation titled, Guidelines on Pension Fund Utilisation and Management, the Head, Research and Policy at the National Pension Commission, Abuja, Dr. Babatunde Alayande described pension fund as the fund that was established, as a joint contribution of both the employee and employer.
He stated that the key players in pension fund management were the Pension Fund Administrators (PFA) and the Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs), adding that the PFAs manage pension fund assets and make investment decisions while the PFCs keep custody of pension fund assets on trust, among other functions.


Citing Section 72 of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004, Dr. Alayande noted the objectives of the Pension Fund Investment include ensuring that there were adequate, affordable, sustainable and safe benefits accruable to contributors. He added that the challenges facing pension fund investment comprise limited investment products, ineffective regulatory oversight of the financial system and low financial literacy of the populace.
In a paper titled, Financial Management in the Nigerian Business Climate, the Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company, Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane emphasised the importance of financial management. Represented by his associates, Messrs Duben Ara and Emmanuel Onoja, he described financial management as the efficient and effective usage of an organisation's financial resources in such a manner that would accomplish its business objectives by maximizing value. He added that the lucrative sectors that are good for investments are the downstream petroleum sector, real estate, telecoms, hospitality and the power sector.
Mr. Oluwasegun Oye of Alicorn Consulting Limited presented a paper titled, Returns on Investment and Risk Analysis: Theory and Practice, where he described risk management function as the provision of an objective and independent measurement of risk portfolio within an investment mandate. Mr. Oye noted that the main threat to managing good investment was the non-adherence to stipulated investment policy.

Delivering a paper titled, Budgeting and Fund Administration in Business Development, the Head, Department of Management and Accounting, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Taiwo Asaolu observed that it was a fundamental duty of the Pension Board to administer funds solely in the interest of beneficiaries whose assets were invested in the funds, adding that the goal of the Board was to generate returns, taking into account, the fund's liabilities, liquidity needs and risk tolerance of members. Professor Asaolu, who was represented by Dr. John Ayoola, stated that the investment funds include mutual funds, index funds, balanced funds, bond funds, unit investment funds, money markets funds, exchange-traded funds, equity funds and hedge funds.

In his paper titled, Business Opportunities in the Present Nigerian Environment, the Head, Department of Entrepreneurship, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Professor Duro Adegeye described his topic as covering “the secrets of Nigerian inexhaustible resource, the virgin sector, the goldmine and the industry of yesterday, today and tomorrow, which is Agriculture”, saying he expected the “participants after leaving the workshop to be determined not to look back as they put their hands on the plough and to make millions - not from the banks, teaching, civil service and so on - but from farming".

"It is our duty in the Universities and the Polytechnics to open the eyes of our students to these opportunities in agriculture and produce literature to back this up. Some of these must be incorporated in entrepreneurship studies in these institutions. Efforts should be made to form our students into groups and let them identify opportunities in agriculture that have hardly been addressed by the present structure of production", he stressed.
He also advised students of agriculture not to underrate their profession, saying that farming was a noble profession, which had been found to be capable of earning good incomes when compared with those from financial institutions.

The Director, Development Finance Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Paul Eluhaiwe, while delivering a paper titled, Accessing External Fund for Business Development, said that the strategic importance of Small and Medium Enterprises were critical to the creation of employment, competition, innovation, productivity and growth, which had contributed to over 10 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
He added that the problems facing businesses in the country were hinged on parlous infrastructure, limited access to finance and high cost of finance.

The Dean, Faculty of Education and a Counselling Psychologist, University of Lagos, Professor (Mrs.) Mopelola Omoegun, who spoke on the Psychology of Retirement and Well-Being, said retirement was a major turning point in the life of a man, which could change his/her focus and priorities and that the ability to adapt to these changes depended on attitudes, lifestyle, planning and preparations, as she counseled participants to plan well for their retirements.

 

NIAS President Charges FUNAAB Graduates on Food Security

The President, Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), Professor Placid Njoku has tasked the newly-inducted Animal Science graduates of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) on the urgent need to fight food insecurity by engaging in massive production of livestock using the best scientific and management practices, to guarantee adequate animal protein supply to meet the country’s domestic need and exports.

Professor Njoku, who gave this charge during the 1st Induction Ceremony and admission of four sets of Animal Science graduates of the University into NIAS, lamented that the current average annual protein consumption of an adult Nigerian was less than one-third of the Food and Agricultural Organisation’s recommendation because majority of the country’s animal protein was always imported.

While advocating for the re-strategizing of the activities of animal scientists to meet the animal protein needs of the country, the NIAS President, who was represented at the occasion by the President, Animal Science Association (ASAN), Mrs. Mope Omotosho, called for an increase in local production of livestock and the regulation of the processing and handling of livestock products, to enhance their quality to meet international standards by placing the country at a vantage position, to tap into its export potentials.

Professor Njoku pointed out that the new inductees were expected to contribute their quota in realizing the mandates of NIAS in terms of regulating all issues that are associated to animal husbandry, while stressing that rearing of livestock products should not be left in the hands of the Nomads alone. The President congratulated the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole for facilitating the process of getting the Animal Science graduates of FUNAAB inducted into NIAS, while assuring them that they would always enjoy the support of the institute.

While administering the Animal Science Oath, the Registrar of NIAS, Dr. Godwin Oyedeji said the Animal Science graduates should count themselves lucky to be inducted by the Institute, stressing that by their membership, they were already affiliated to the International Society of Animal Science and could, therefore, practice freely in Canada and the United States, without being subjected to any further examinations. The Registrar pointed out that by the oath they had taken, they were now bound to be honest, diligent and show respect to their senior colleagues.

Earlier, the Dean, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM), Professor Christian Ikeobi said, NIAS was a professional body charged by law with the responsibility of regulating the practice of Animal Science as a profession in Nigeria. He commended the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oyewole for allowing himself be the bridge-builder and peace-broker in bringing progress to the College.

Professor Ikeobi, who disclosed that the University had in the past enjoyed a good working relationship with the Institute, said that in 2009, NIAS designated the Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, FUNAAB as its Centre of Excellence in Animal Breeding and Genetics and Animal Biotechnology and donated four key laboratory equipment to the University.

According to him, “to date, more than 10 Ph.D students, 25 M.Agric students and over 100 B.Agric students have used some or all of these NIAS-donated equipment in their research”, as he further disclosed that the Registrar of NIAS, Dr. Godwin Oyedeji, who was impressed with the effective deployment of these equipment by the University, made a personal donation of a Micro-tracer Unit to FUNAAB.

Professor Ikeobi stated that the College produced the best graduating student in FUNAAB in the 2012/2013 Academic Session with a record-setting CGPA of 4.90 out of a maximum of 5.00, the highest ever in the history of the University alongside 17 First Class in the 2012/2013 session.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, reiterated the commitment of the University to the promotion of professionalism and excellence, stressing that, “the principle of professionalism resides at the very foundation of our society and most certainly, at the foundation of a World-Class University such as ours”.

He commended Act. No 26 of 2007 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which established the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science on three core mandates, namely: Professional, industry and social mandates, in order to respond to the unfortunate low level per capita animal protein intake (10g/head as against the recommended 35g/head), as well as the yearnings and lamentations of livestock farmers with adulterated inputs, exploitative investors and poor development of the value-chain. The Vice-Chancellor assured the Institute of the University’s continued support to the advancement of its mandate while stating that the University on its part would ensure that the equipment donated to the University would be put to good use.

Mr. Samuel Durosaro, on behalf of the other inductees appreciated the University Management and NIAS for the privilege given to them to be members, promising that they would live up to the oath they had taken and be proud ambassadors of the University and the Institute. Highlights of the ceremony was the unveiling of the Micro-tracer Unit in one of the laboratories in COLANIM and the pledge of the donation of a computer and a scanner by the Vice-Chancellor for an effective use of the Microtracer in the College.

 

Don Creates Awareness on Biotechnology

A call has gone out to members of staff, students and the general public to take advantage of the monthly Biotechnology training programme, being held at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), to get acquainted with the latest technology and information on Biotechnology.
According to the University’s Director, Biotechnology Centre, Professor (Mrs.) Olufunmi Adebambo, the training programme would equip participants with the relevant skills on the application of technology to enhance, manipulate and harness the power of biological organisms for practical use; develop new bio-fuels; adapt to climate change; clean up oil spills and solve many problems that relate to man, plants and animals.

She said courses to be offered include introductory Biotechnology, molecular techniques in the detection of human, food-borne pathogens and toxins, basic genomic analysis in animals, fishes and pathogens, molecular cloning and plant genetic transformation and micro-propagation, principles and application of enzyme-linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay (Elisa). Others are analytical methods using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), molecular techniques in finger printing and forensics and bioinformatics and phylogenetics analysis.
Professor (Mrs.) Adebambo disclosed that as part of the University Management's commitment to the capacity development of members of staff and students, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole had approved a 50 per cent discount to interested staff and postgraduate students of the University, to enable them attend the monthly workshop.

Professor (Mrs.) Adebambo said Biotechnology could provide important solutions to biomedical and environmental problems and was currently helping medical community with the latest advancement in the development of new medicines, diagnosis of ailments and finding solutions to incurable diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS.

Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Olusola Oyewole, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Development, Professor Felix Salako, said that this year Biotechnology workshop was split into seven course modules, to cover the various areas of Biotechnology applications. According to him, Biotechnology started in 1750 BCE and had moved from plant micro-propagation to plant-transformation, which is known as genetically-modified organism to animal transformation known as transgenic and other transplants.

Professor Oyewole added that agriculture was the biggest beneficiary of modern Biotechnology, as it had greatly reduced farmers' use of insecticides in pest control because safe method were used in supplying nutrients to plant through Biotechnology, thereby, reducing environmental impacts.

Heads of Departments are enjoined to forward the names of two, nominated postgraduate students, whose projects are relevant to Biotechnology while interested applicants are also advised to visit the University's website: www.funaab.edu.ng, to generate an invoice at the Biotechnology Centre’s portal, which they could use to make payment for the programme at designated banks.

 

FUNAAB Hosts 4th FFPS Biennial Conference

Members of the Forests and Forest Products Society recently held their 4th Biennial Conference at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), with the theme, Forests and Forest Products: Key to Sustainable Livelihood.

Delivering the keynote address at the occasion, a Don in Forestry and Wildlife Management, Professor Bunyamin Ola-Adams, decried the rate of shrinking forest estates in the country, which he blamed on unsustainable wood extraction for timber; fuel wood and charcoal; agricultural expansion; infrastructural development including construction of roads, dams, pipe lines and forest fires through bush burning.

Professor Ola-Adams, who is also the Chairman, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Committee on Nigerian National Man and the Biosphere (MaB), stated that the country should aim at achieving a sustainable livelihood or a ‘green economy’ by securing better health care, education, and job creation, increasing social equity by ending perpetual poverty, ensuring social equity, reducing environmental risk and addressing climate change.

Making case for the green economy, he added that this could be achieved through reducing ecological scarcities, securing access to fresh water, natural resources and improving soil fertility; close monitoring and enforcement of forest laws and regulations to ensure sustainable use of forest resources to meet domestic demands; launching of extensive reforestation and aforestation programmes, including community tree planting programmes; encourage and promote development of alternative sources of energy other than wood and development of cottage industries based on the resources available within forest reserve that would increase income level within the community and, therefore, improve their living standards.

Welcoming participants to the programme, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Professor Felix Salako, stated that the importance of forest to man had gone beyond agricultural value alone, as he lauded the keynote speaker, Professor Ola-Adams for gracing the occasion.

The Commissioner for Forestry in Ogun State, Mr. Adebayo Faari commended the organisers of the conference, as he described forests and forest products as indispensible to human existence. He noted that forests and forest products contributed greatly to the economy through the products associated with it such as sawn wood, panels, paper and non-timber forest products. During the conference, there was the conferment of the Society’s Fellowhip Award on Professor Shadrach Akindele, a Professor of Forest Biometrics at the Federal University of Technology, Akure.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Local Organizing Committee of the conference, Professor Moses Adedire, the immediate past Dean, University’s College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM), said it was a follow-up to the 3rd Biennial Conference of the Society, held in 2012 and was a research-oriented conference that brought together scientists, students, graduates, development experts and policy makers from higher institutions, research institutes, governmental and non-governmental organisations, to deliberate on issues of common interest to the research and development of the Forestry profession.

 

DGM Organises Write-Shop for Lecturers

As part of efforts to reposition the University in the area of internationalisation, the Directorate of Grants Management (DGM), recently organised a two-day,  European Commission Funding Opportunities for Academic Staff Write-Shop for those in the cadres of Lecturer I and above, that is; Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors.

Reiterating the University’s commitment towards activities geared at attaining a world-class status, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, said the Write-Shop, the second in the series to be organised by DGM, would adequately equip participants with the needed skills to apply and win grants under the European Union framework for research and innovation.

Professor Oyewole, who was represented by the Dean, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), Prof. Bolanle Akeredolu-Ale, said it was heartwarming to know that the Directorate’s effort had started yielding fruits, as three grants had been awarded to staff of the University by the International Foundation of Science (IFS), while expressing the hope that more of such awards were still being expected. The Vice-Chancellor charged the participants to make the best use of the opportunity, stressing that, “many earlier career academics did not have similar privileges, or that it took them several years to be able to tap into it”. He disclosed that in support of the fund-seeking efforts of participants, the Management of the University had approved the provision of mobile internet facilities.

Earlier, the Director of DGM, Dr. Kolawole Adebayo, said the Write-Shop, which was the second in the series, was organised for Academic Staff because winning  European Union grants required a lot of experience and hence, the justification for the programme. He added that another important thing to note about the grant, was that the amount of money usually involved was large. Dr. Adebayo thereafter, expressed his appreciation to the Vice-Chancellor for his support and for granting approval that 50 persons be empowered at the Write-Shop after which eight good proposals were expected to be submitted to the EU.

Don Proffers Solution to the Nation’s Lingering Unemployment

The Director, Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (CENTS), Professor Olufemi Onifade, has offered a way out of the high rate of unemployment ravaging the nation. The Professor, an ardent advocate of entrepreneurship in Nigeria, lamented that tertiary institutions produced thousands of graduates yearly, adding that 99 per cent of these graduates go about looking for the non-existent jobs and advised that "one can make do with what one can do with the hands", adding that "it's one thing to know how to do something, it's another thing to make it beneficial to oneself and to one's immediate environment".

"If you want your service or product to get acceptability, you have to know who, what, how and where your product is highly needed. Then, you aim at that. Someone who is going to be in an enterprise has to be creative. Think of where his/her product will sell and make use of all available opportunities to expose himself/herself to the world", he stated. The Director of CENTS observed that everyone was a stakeholder in entrepreneurship and should be prepared to create jobs in that some “people are into a particular vocation because they grow with their parents in that particular profession and they also have passion for it".
Professor Onifade called on the government to create the enabling environment for small scale businesses to thrive, urging the youths to change their orientation from the preconceived notion that vocation in craft-making was meant for certain categories of graduates.  Speaking about Auto-Mechanics, he said “don't leave the vocation for people who didn't go to school at all, or people who just finished primary school. There is nothing wrong for a graduate or diploma holder to go into it, provided such persons would end up being better trained”, he advised.

FISON President Charges Members on Ethics

The National President of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), Dr. Abdullah Abba, has stressed the need for Aquaculture and Fisheries graduates, to abide by their professional ethics. Dr. Abba gave the charge at the Induction Ceremony held recently for the 2012/2013 Fisheries graduates of the University.

Dr. Abba, who was represented at the occasion by the third Vice-President-in-charge of Aquaculture, Hon. Babasola Senbanjo, said the Fisheries and Aquaculture component was not left out in the Federal Government's agricultural transformation programme, aimed at liberalising and transforming the sector for the better.

The National President informed the graduands that their field of study was noble and that their induction into FISON was a veritable tool that would assist them to become professional members of the society. He solicited the co-operation of the relevant Deans and Heads of Departments in FUNAAB, to ensure that students that were turned out, add to the human resource assets of the country.

The Chairman of FISON, Ogun State Branch and Reader in the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture of FUNAAB, Dr. Samuel Obasa, said FISON was a non-governmental organisation that was founded to promote the practice of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Nigeria in a bid to surmounting the challenges of food insecurity through efficient fish production.
Delivering the lecture titled, Professionalism in Fisheries, Dr. Julius Agboola of the Department of Fisheries, Centre for Environment, Lagos State University, availed the graduating students about the opportunities that abound in the profession, adding that they could specialise in either Aquaculture, Marine Biology or Oceanography.
Earlier, the Acting Head, Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, Dr. Bolatito Ikenweiwe appreciated FISON for admitting the graduating students of the University into the society, stressing that FUNAAB students always distinguished themselves anywhere.

Beneficiaries Commend AMREC’s Loan Scheme

Beneficiaries of the Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) Farmers’ Loans Scheme (AFFLS), have expressed appreciation to the University and AMREC for establishing the loan scheme for farmers. In a communiqué issued at the end of the AFFLS Forum, which was held to assess the performance of both the loan delivery services and administration of the scheme within the last one year of its existence, the Director of AMREC, Professor Carolyn Afolami, said the farmers expressed their gratitude to the University, as they also requested that the micro-credit scheme be extended to medium and large scale entrepreneurs, while farmers from outside the University’s catchment extension villages should also be included in the scheme.

It further stated that apart from cash, the farmers had signified their interest in accessing the loan through the provision of improved farm inputs and solicited that the University should increase the volume of loans disbursed to farmers, in view of the changing economic conditions, as well as the increase in the prices of agricultural inputs and the cost of production. The Director of AMREC, however, enjoined the participants to form themselves into groups, to access loans and other inputs, while assuring them of the continued support of the University, through AMREC.

AAU President Makes Case for Quality Assurance in Varsities

For Universities to be seen as serving the purpose for their establishment, there has been a renewed call for the establishment of Quality Assurance mechanism within the institutions. This call was made by Professor Olusola Oyewole, President of the Association of African Universities and Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).

Professor Oyewole stated this, while delivering a lecture at the just-concluded African Leaders in Education Forum, held in Abuja with the theme, Strategic Policies and Structures for the Achievement of Quality Education. Represented by Dr. Olusegun Folorunso, Head, Webometrics Centre of FUNAAB, the Vice-Chancellor spoke on “Quality Assurance in African Universities: Challenges and Strategies”, as he traced the emergence of Quality Assurance in African institutions to the 1980s and the 1990s.

“Quality Assurance is for systematic planning, monitoring and evaluation of our Universities to sustain and improve on the standards of teaching, research and extension mandate as well as providing confidence in the University outputs (students), services and facilities”, Professor Oyewole stated. He noted that the key issues, which necessitated the emergence of QA were demand for efficiency and competitiveness in higher education, increased mobility, brain drain, globalization and cross-border recognition of qualifications and involvement of private interests and expansion in student enrolment.

The AAU President said when assessing quality, there was the need to look at the process of transferring input to output in terms of government policies, governance, leadership, teaching and learning process by giving importance to the review of major elements in the academic curriculum, to meet national development needs through the evaluation of teaching and study programmes, which should be documented in written reports by the Course Co-ordinator and Head of Department while quality enhancement will be further enhanced through the collection, analysis, reporting and taking of appropriate action on student, staff and stakeholder’s feedback.

Professor Oyewole’s detailed and well-illustrated paper advised that in a bid to establish QA mechanism, there should be an assessment of the current state of service provision and delivery, assessment of what needed to be done, as he called on academics to mentor the younger ones and to also create a platform that would allow students assess their lecturers, to bring about quality teaching. He concluded by calling for the sustenance and improvement in the standards of teaching, learning, research and extension services in the Nigerian Universities within the quality assurance framework. He equally solicited for adequate enlightenment on the need for QA in the realization of the aims and objectives of establishing the University.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Plenary Session panelists include Professor Adebiyi Daramola, Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure; Professor Emmanuel Okoro, Professor of Medicine, University of Ilorin and Ms. Brittney Field of the Bridge International Academies. Professor Daramola charged education policy makers to shun sheer political consideration and always put in place, enduring and sustainable policies that would transform the sector positively, Professor Okoro gave the imperative of preparing managers of education “for a future of intense competition and shifting competitive advantages, a future of ever-increasing change where technologies are replaced at an increasing pace”, while Ms. Field enjoined educational institutions to be aligned to the mantra, “knowledge for all” by embracing the use of teachers’ tablet, as a compulsory instructional device.

Speaking at the Forum, which was organized by the Worldview International Initiative and the British Educational Suppliers Association, United Kingdom, Dominic Savage, OBE, Director-General of BESA, said the Forum was running simultaneously with the African Resources and Technology for Education Show because technology was imperative for the delivery of sound education. Savage noted that while teachers would always be the greatest educational resource, equipment, materials, books and technology on the other hand constituted the second greatest resource in the attainment of the greatest possible impact.

During the education commissioners’ Plenary Session on Regional Policies and Structures, which was meant to highlight the various challenges being faced by state commissioners of education in reaching out to students in achieving quality  teaching and learning for optimizing education’s impact in line with national goals, the Benue State Commissioner of Education, Dr. Elizabeth Ugo spoke on, “The Impact of Policies and Structures on Actualizing Educational Development: The Case of Benue State”.

Ban Rice Importation - Don Tells FG

The Director, Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Professor Akin Omotayo has called on the Federal Government to ban the importation of rice into the country. The Director, who is also a Professor in the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development of the University made this call recently while featuring on an interview programme on Radio, observed that agriculture, which had been the main stay and a major source of income for the country in the early 1960s had not been given due attention since the discovery of oil.

“There is a decline in interest of youth in Agriculture programmes, which means that old age people are more into farming activities. For instance, income realized from sales of produce such as maize after cultivating for three months is not commensurable to what a youth would realize when working for an oil company”, he stated.

“Every year, the country is divided into zones where meetings are held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, to discuss on pre-planting and post-planting activities but implementation of the various policies is a major problem”, he added. Professor Omotayo stated that planning was really not our problem in Nigeria but lack of proper implementation of already formulated public policies.

“We need to put in place all that we have and any country that wants to develop must first be prepared to suffer for a while and endure. Moreover, all our borders to neighbouring countries must be closed and we can then mobilize the people to engage in rice production. Also, government must ensure that there is adequate supply of raw materials to people in the rice producing areas such as Ewekoro and Ofada in Ogun State, Abakaliki in Ebonyi State and Kwara State. About N356 million was spent on importation of rice in year 2013. Necessary structures that will enable Nigeria to have minimum requirement must be put in place. In addition, the ‘force men’ at our borders must be well-equipped in order to combat smuggling because importation does not encourage local production”, he maintained.

In another development, Professor Akin Omotayo had charged Scientists and Researchers to participate more in competitive research grants in order to increase their chances of winning good international grants. Professor Omotayo, who is also the winner West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAP) grant, gave this charge during the presentation of the WAAP project vehicle to him, to facilitate the implementation of the project.

According to Professor Omotayo, a lot of grant opportunities were available across the globe and when explored, could bring development to the University and country at large, as he called on young scientists to work hard, to win such grants. He disclosed that scientists could partner with the University’s Directorate of Grants Management, to identify available research grant opportunities, stressing that he would be willing to give them appropriate mentoring.

Professor Omotayo added that the project was aimed at increasing productivity across West African nations and was already actively running in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cote d’ivoire and Burkina Faso, for the next two years in the area of Aquaculture. “We are multiplying fingerlings for WAAP, to be distributed to farmers across the country. We are to produce eight million fingerlings and we are also partnering with WAAP, to multiply yellow-flesh cassava for distribution to farmers not just in South West alone but throughout the country”, he stated.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, who was represented at the occasion by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor Felix  Salako, congratulated Professor Omotayo and Dr. Adeola Abiodun, for winning the WAAP grants.  It would be recalled that Dr. Abiodun Adeola’s project proposal entitled “Improving  Child Nutrition in Nigeria Using Yellow Fleshed Cassava/Sorghum-based Complementary Food” was tentatively approved for funding alongside Professor Omotayo’s project titled “Adaptation and Promotion of Extra Early Maize (Zea mays L) Varieties to Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change in South Western Nigeria”.

 

 

 

World Bank: VC Highlights Opportunities

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olusola Oyewole, has charged scientists, academics, farmers and agricultural-related industries to get involved in the World Bank Africa Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (CEADESE) project, by making good use of the opportunities derived from the World Bank intervention programme.

Prof. Oyewole stated this during the first Stakeholder’s Meeting of the Africa Centre of Excellence, hosted by the CEADESE, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB). He described the meeting as an opportunity for the stakeholders to brainstorm, plan and work together to achieve capacity building and excellence in research studies that would impact on the West African Sub-region. The Vice-Chancellor said that FUNAAB was one of the 19 African Centres of Excellence, for the attainment of excellence in teaching, learning and research in African Universities, as he noted that the project would partner experts from Universities in advanced countries.

Presenting the CEADESE Research Programme Action Plan, the Director of Academic Planning, Dr.Olukayode Akinyemi, stated that the plan to achieve the centre’s objectives was divided into “capacity building” and “research programmes” components. According to him, the capacity building involved introducing new post-graduate curricula in Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (MAgSE/PhD), in response to specific productivity challenges, short-term skill acquisition for industrial stakeholders, specialized workshops and internships.

He said the action for research programmes consisted of partnership with 18 regional and 13 international centres on over 100 post-graduate research projects in six West African countries that would be conducted with up-to-date research facilities. Dr. Akinyemi added that the centre would embark on thematic agricultural research projects of international interests, targeted at mitigating climate and environmental challenges in the West Africa sub-region. Breaking down the expected World Bank grant, he stated that 40 MAgSE and 20 PhD graduates from six West African partnering countries, namely - Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Liberia, Sierra-Leone and The Gambia - would be funded, while 200 staff from industries, line ministries and institutions would benefit from 10 short-term training courses while another 200 would also benefit from three specialized workshops.

Earlier, the Director of the Centre, Prof. Okanlawon Onagbesan, had described the project as a “collaborative programme” that would enable the stakeholders to work together and achieve a common goal. Dignitaries present at the event include Ambassador James S. Lebbie from the Sierra-Leonean High Commission, who  represented the Country Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador (Mrs.) Henry Olufunmi Akande; representatives from the Babcock University; Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso; West African Milk Company (Nig.) Plc; Guinness Nigeria Plc, Food and Industrial Research Institute, Oshodi, Lagos; Livestock Feeds; and the University of Port-Harcourt.

 

FUNAAB Joins Fight Against Corruption

For the fight against corruption to be effective, Nigeria should be ready to treat corrupt people as social lepers, while proceeds of corruption should also be seen as loot from crime. This was the submission of the President, Women Arise and Campaign for Democracy (CD), Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, during the Inauguration Ceremony of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission/Anti-Corruption Transparency and Monitoring Unit (ICPC/ACTU), FUNAAB Chapter, held  on campus, recently.

Delivering a lecture titled, Eliminating Corruption in the University System, the United States of America Secretary of States’ International Woman of Courage Awardee, defined corruption as an inducement to do wrong by bribery or any unlawful means adding that this cankerworm had bedeviled every sector of the Nigerian society, Universities inclusive.

The Human Rights Activist reinstated that the Berlin-based Transparency International, in its 2011 annual Corruption Perception Index Report rated Nigeria, 143rd out of 183 nations, showing that the menace, though a global phenomenon, had assumed an alarming proportion in the country. Dr. Okei-Odumakin described education as a service that significantly contributed to national development, while adding that the essence of University education was to produce high-level manpower and leaders that would act as a catalyst for national development.

The Human Rights Activist expressed support for adequate funding of the University system since underfunding was the precursor to corruption. “The University must be the change agent in the society to liberate the down trodden. ASUU and other Union bodies must be ready to act as checks and balances to the administrators of the ivory towers, and by extension, the leaders in the country”, as she charged the academic community to design a workable model for the eradication of corruption in its entirety because “as scholars, we are and must continue to be change agents for the national development which we so crave for”.

Dr. Okei-Odumakin had earlier highlighted the various ills of corruption perpetuated in the University system to include fraudulent admission processes, admission and accommodation racketeering, financial fraud, examination malpractices and sex/cash for marks. Others are plagiarism, stifling of staff and student unionism, cultism and academic gangsterism. She added that corruption thrived in the nation because the opportunity cost for stealing was positive in the sense that alleged corrupt persons were always celebrated.

The President of Women Arise advocated that sanctions against corruption and corrupt practices should be adequately and dutifully followed to the letter, to serve as a deterrent for offenders. She recommended that success should not be measured by the amount of ill-gotten wealth that someone had. She advised that all schools - private and public, reputed for manufacturing high percentages of passes in external examinations - should be monitored by anti-corruption bodies while the issue of special centres for examinations should be abolished as they were found to be grounds for examination malpractices.

The Vice-Chancellor and Chairman of the occasion, Professor Olusola Oyewole, challenged the conscience of the nation and the entire University community in general saying “let us build a better country than what we have now”. He disclosed that FUNAAB had zero tolerance for any form of financial misconduct or corruption, while admission into the University was strictly based on merit, as students were required to prove themselves worthy in character and academics, before they graduate from the University. He hoped that her lecture would further spur the University to keep the fight against corruption alive.

The Head, ICPC Oyo/Ogun States Office, Mr. Olusesan Olukile, who disclosed that the occasion was the sixth edition of the forum of ACTU Chairman and Secretaries in Federal Government Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), said ACTU was one of the reaching-out strategies of the commission to curb corrupt practices in Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a view to promoting integrity in the public service.He commended the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, whose intolerance for corruption had made the occasion a reality and the commitment of Dr. Abiodun Amusan, Chairman of the local ACTU and his members, stating that corruption in the University system should be an issue of great concern to every Nigerian. According to him, the story-line of University education was bedeviled with anti-societal norms and values that are detrimental to any achievable goals of a great nation. Mr. Olukile also called on all the relevant stakeholders to join hands with the ICPC/ACTU at ensuring the future of the upcoming generation was not mortgaged.

In his appreciation address, the Chairman of FUNAAB ICPC-ACTU, Dr. Abiodun Amusan, expressed gratitude to the University Management for the confidence reposed in the committee members, to run the anti-corruption responsibility of the University, as he assured that collectively, they would fight against corruption. Dr. Amusan advocated for true independent for ICPC to carry out its duties and the shifting of the prosecution of corruption cases from the conventional courts to Special Anti-Corruption tribunals with maximum period of 90 days, to dispose investigated cases as was the practice with Electoral Petition tribunals, stressing that it was only then that Nigeria would cease to be a fertile ground, where corruption flourished.

Principal Officers of the University and all members of ICPC/ACTU FUNAAB Chapter were inaugurated at the colourful ceremony.

 

We are Committed To Total Development of Students, Graduates – VC

The Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Professor Olusola Oyewole has again reiterated the commitment of the University to the total development of its students and graduates. The Vice-Chancellor gave the assurance during the maiden graduation ceremony of the Skills Acquisition Programme Trainees, Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies of the University, held recently at the Professor Mahmood Yakubu Lecture Theatre.

Professor Oyewole noted that CENTS was created to ensure that students possessed entrepreneurial skills in line with the National Universities Commission guidelines, which supported the initiative of starting small and growing big with students. He added that the students were graduating because they had been found worthy in skills and vocation acquisition.

The President, Association of African Universities (AAU) informed the gathering that the CENTS building was under construction and assured all that it would be completed in record time, for trainees to enjoy the available facilities. The Vice-Chancellor also challenged the Centre to properly document its achievements and give adequate publicity to its programmes.

The Director of CENTS, Professor Femi Onifade said the Centre, which was created in 2010 had recorded unprecedented achievements in the last two years since the assumption into office of the incumbent Vice-Chancellor. He thanked Management for supporting the Centre, to achieve success.

One of the graduating students, Mr. Olatunji Adekunle lauded the quality of the training obtained from the University, saying it was one of the best things that had happened to him. The student, a retired civil servant, said more people had now shown interest in enrolling for the programme, as he advised students to acquire relevant skills and develop their God-given talent. A total of 21 students graduated in various skills and vocations including Fashion Designing, Foreign Exchange Trading, Fingerlings Production, Events Management, Catering and Hotel Management, Fabrication and Welding, Agriculture, Graphics and Automechanic. Highpoint of the ceremony was the presentation of certificates to successful graduands and their trainers.

Dignitaries present at the event include the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor Felix Salako; Director, Biotechnology Centre, Professor Olufunmilayo Adebambo; Pioneer Director of the Centre, Professor Olukayode Bamgbose; representative of the General Manager, Nigerian Television Authority, Abeokuta and Dean, School of Vocational Studies, Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta.

 

Four W'African Varsities to Develop Trade Negotiation Curriculum

The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB); the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana; University of Liberia, Liberia and the Njala University, Sierra Leone are developing a curriculum that would help in building the capacity of African nations to embark on international  agricultural trade negotiations and agreements. The project, Enhancing Capacity on International Agriculture Trade Agreements for Development of Regional Agriculture and Food Market,seeks to develop capacities and enhance competences in negotiation platforms for West Africa in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.


According to the Team Leader in Nigeria and former Head of Department, University's Agricultural Economics and Farm Management of FUNAAB, Professor Adewale Dipeolu, during a meeting with the University Management alongside the visiting team revealed that there was a challenge in the Agricultural industry which had to do with trade agreement. He noted that from time-to-time, African nations often traded in Agricultural commodities - export and import commodities - but not much had been achieved because they lacked the capacity to negotiate certain trade conditions and agreements effectively.He said the intention of the proposed collaboration was to find out how the four countries could develop a good curriculum that would facilitate the teaching of international trade with emphasis on international negotiation and trade agreements.

Speaking on the benefits of the partnership, Professor Dipeolu disclosed that when fully operational, FUNAAB would be able to develop a certificate course for officials in the ministries, Economic of West African States, farmers and others who work closely with trade bodies, to have a better understanding of the nature of trade agreements. He further stated that the countries involved in the curriculum development would have broader perspectives in agriculture trade negotiations by benefiting from the ECOWAS Agricultural Policies (ECOWAP).

The Team Leader said the project was in its first year and already working on the Needs Assessment to determine the gaps to find out, if there were people who could teach the course in the University system, if the curriculum for the programme already existed, and if government officials in the ministry of trade and industry were aware of such agreements. Professor Dipeolu disclosed that presently, Departments of Agricultural Economics in the South-West Universities in the country offered courses in international trade but do not incorporate issues on trade agreements and negotiations, which could be offered as a specialization areas at Master’s and PhD levels.