News Published in August 2017
A seasoned Professor of Medical Biochemistry, Joseph Olagunju, has enumerated the importance of Biosciences in achieving economic development, reiterating the need for Bioscientists in Nigeria to collaborate with similar sectors with biological-knowledge based production systems, to boost the nation’s economy. Professor Olagunju, who is also the Dean, Postgraduate School, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos State, disclosed this while delivering his keynote address at the maiden Annual Conference of College of Biosciences of the University, with the theme: "Harnessing Biosciences for Economic Development."
The Don said that Biosciences and Biotechnology were major drivers of economic growth, frowning against government’s lack of proper consultation before policy formulation and implementation. According to him, the improper deployment of available experts and expertise account for major reasons why Biosciences application was still at infancy in Nigeria. Professor Olagunju stated that economic development was a multivariate concept, which was on one hand, a gamut of processes where low income economies were transformed into modern industrial economies, and on the other hand, implied improvements in material welfare, most especially, for persons with lowest incomes, eradication of mass poverty in correlation with illiteracy, diseases and early death.
He highlighted social factors, as an important process of economic development, describing development as the ability to meet the basic needs that were essential for improvement in the quality of life, self-esteem to eliminate dominance feelings and freedom from want, ignorance and squalour. He noted some techniques of Biosciences that could be deployed to achieve meaningful economic development in the country, stressing that in this age and time, when economies were increasingly based on knowledge, technology and information, Biosciences and Biotechnology remained major drivers of economic growth. He added that Biosciences and Biotechnology were capable of delivering technical solutions to health, agricultural, social and environmental problems.
"Biosciences in its diversity converge as a group of industries with a common link - apply knowledge to develop solutions that sustain, restore and improve quality of life for humans, plants and animals in our world”, as Professor Olagunju further noted some areas of impact of Biosciences in economic development, to include, agriculture and food security; production of renewable energy; the environment as well as health and manufacturing, adding that Biosciences could ensure increased efficiency and sustainability of crops and animal production. He said that Biosciences could also enhance yield and quality of agriculture produce, combat pests, diseases and weeds, as well as aid the production of vaccines to enhance animal health.
Commenting further on the importance of Biosciences, the Don said it offered novel solutions through the use of biological processes derivable from plants, bacteria, algae and fungi, as sources of renewable energy, by converting lignocelluloses and non-lignocelluloses material to high-density fuels and replacement to petrochemicals. According to him, “Biosciences contribute immensely to economic development. An example is the United States of America, in which the Bioscience industries employed about 1.62 million personnel across more than 73,000 individual business establishments, thus adding 110,000 new jobs between 2001 and 2012”.
Professor Olagunju was miffed that, between 2005 and 2015, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at 6.3 per cent, but as recession sets in 2016, the GDP contracted by 0.36 per cent in the first quarter of the year and later to 2.1 per cent in the second quarter and 2.2 per cent in the third quarter, saying that inflation doubled up from 9.5 per cent in December 2015 to 18.5 per cent in November 2016. According to him, “Falling oil prices widened Nigeria budget deficit from N1.2 trillion in 2013 to N1.4 trillion in 2015 and N2.2 trillion in 2016 with a lot of credit rating down gradation”. He bemoaned that oil and gas continued to remain the mainstay of the economy, accounting for 10 per cent of the GDP, 94 per cent of export earnings and 62 per cent of government earnings at all levels between 2011 and 2015 while Nigeria’s foreign exchange had declined from USD32 billion (from USD 52 billion in 2008) in January 2015 to USD 25 billion in November 2016.
He said that the social implications of the economic meltdown and improper exploration of other branches of science in general and biosciences in particular, was responsible for why 61 per cent of Nigerians lived on less than USD1 per day, human development indicators on health and education became bleak, primary school enrolment dropped at 54 per cent with 10 million children of school age drop out of school and 17.6 million Nigerians are either unemployed or underemployed. He said though the Federal Government, in its earliest action, prioritised tackling of corruption, improving security and rebuilding of the economy through a Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP), adding that more still needed to be done in diversifying the economy and promotion of "made in Nigeria" goods and import substitution. He, therefore, declared that economic development, which fosters innovation and entrepreneurship was the long-term solution to current concerns over the long-term decline in productivity that had militated against economic development in Nigeria, charging Bioscientists, who he described as the needed economic agents to collaborate with industries, to create value through research by moving the nation forward.
Corroborating Professor Abayomi, Professor Al-Hasan Mohammed Gani, the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State, said Bioscience resources and findings were capable of transforming the country. He admonished delegates at the conference to use their knowledge of Biosciences to change the Nigerian economy for the better and impacting lives positively. Professor Gani was represented at the occasion by the Dean, College of Biosciences (COLBIOS) of FUNAAB, Professor David Agboola. Earlier, the acting Vice-chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, said that the conference provided a unique platform for research and Bioscience experts to share information and network. Represented by the Chairperson, Committee of Deans and Directors (CODAD) and Dean, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD) of the University, Professor Bolanle Akeredolu-Ale, the Acting Vice Chancellor urged the delegates to use the opportunity to shape research and control policies involved in Biosciences, as well as build research capacity.
Staff of the University, drawn across the various departments and units, have undergone intensive training on Advanced Digital Appreciation, as provided by Digital Bridge Institute (DBI); a foremost computer training institute in the country, as the beneficiaries acquired skills on Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and the Internet and Office Productivity Tools (IOPT), among others.
The Training Co-ordinator of DBI, Mrs. Talatu Seye-Lawal, who represented the President of the Institute, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, stated that she was impressed by the conduct of trainees during the workshop. Similarly, the Acting Vice-Chancellor of FUNAAB, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, who was represented at the closing ceremony by the Director, Academic Planning Unit; Professor Olusola Adeniran, congratulated the trainees for attending the workshop because of its enormous benefits.
Speaking on the experiences gained, Mr. Babatunde Tijani of the Registry Department, described the workshop as an eye-opener. He added that it had aided his understanding on efficient use of advanced application packages on his computer system. For Mrs. Alaba Adejimi of the Department of Computer Science, College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS), the programme was expository. She noted that it had enhanced her analytical skills in SPSS. Alaba and Babatunde both commended the University for giving them the opportunity. The one-week long training, known as the Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme for Tertiary Institution (ADAPTI), was put together by DBI, in conjunction with the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).
Earlier, at the opening ceremony, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele, had described the place of computer in the present age as unmatched, as he charged the DBI team to keep up with the training. After the training, successful participants were presented certificates by representative of the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Adeniran.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, has described the late Chief Coach of the University, Victor Oshuntolu as a great sport icon, whose memory would linger on for many years to come. Professor Enikuomehin disclosed this at a friendly match between FUNAAB Staff Football team and the Federal College of Education (FCE), Osiele, Abeokuta Staff Football team, which was organised by the University in honour of the late Chief Coach, adding that the legacies of the late Chief Coach were worthy of emulation.
Speaking at the event, representative of the Acting Director, Sports, Mrs. Funke Apeleyin, had described the late Chief Coach as a successful sportsman, who had worked assiduously to improve sporting activities in the University. She stated that it would be good if the event to honour him was sustained every year. Earlier, the Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), FUNAAB Branch, Comrade Rotimi Fasunwon, expressed his gratitude to the University Management for making the event a success, especially for employing the deceased’s wife as a staff of the University, adding that the occasion was not a day of shedding tears but a moment of celebration and joy for the late sport icon. He charged the family and well-wishers to continue to pray for the repose of the deceased’s soul. Comrade Fasunwon recalled that during his undergraduate days in the 1990s, the late Chief Coach gave necessary assistance to students in the area of sports, by encouraging them to win laurels and medals for the University.
Highpoint of the friendly match was the kick-off taken by the wife of the deceased, Mrs. Oluwakemi Oshuntolu. Present at the friendly match were Coach Cyril Osigwe; Director of Sports, FCE, Osiele, Mr. Kehinde Feyisetan; Deputy Director of Sports, FCE, Osiele, Mr. Moruf Balogun; National President, Federal Colleges of Education Staff Sports, Dr. Ben Edegbai and the Chairperson, College of Education Staff Sports Association of Nigeria (CESSAN), Mrs. Ayodele Akparanta. The friendly match ended with a 2-1 victory for the FUNAAB team against the FCE team, with Dr. Olusegun Oduwaye and Mr. Chukwuemeka Igwe of the FUNAAB team, scoring the first and second goals, respectively.
Meanwhile, late Chief Coach Oshuntolu, popularly called ‘Ojoro Cancel’, was employed by FUNAAB on November 12, 1990 as a Sports Coach II, after his youth service programme. He rose through the ranks to become a Chief Coach in the Directorate of Sports. He served the University meritoriously for 25 years and bagged honours and medals in the Nigeria University Games Association (NUGA), at state, national, West African and international competitions, such as: pre-season seminar for Nigerian coaches/sports administrators, organised by the Nigeria Football Association (NFA); scientific sports administration/crisis management seminar, organised by the Ogun State Sports’ Council; Acting Head, Sports Unit of FUNAAB; Head, University’s contingent to the West Africa University Games (WAUG), held at the University of Ghana, Legon during which the University bagged one silver and one bronze medals; as well as the Head, University delegation to the Gateway Tertiary Institutions Games (GATIG) for institutions in Ogun State, where FUNAAB came third with six gold and 16 bronze medals.
Mr. Oshuntolu also served as the head of the University’s men and women relay teams to the Redeemer’s Sports’ Festival, where both men and women contingents came second in 2008; he was also head of delegation to the 2008 NUGA Games finals at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where his team won one silver and two bronze medals. Late Coach Oshuntolu also initiated the UNAAB Soccer Academy (USA) for students of the University; organised weight control programmes for staff and students, using exercise therapy and gymnasium facilities at the Mudal Lawal Stadium, Abeokuta, among others.
The Vice-Chancellor, Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State; Professor Adeniyi Olayanju, has expressed the intention of his University to partner FUNAAB, towards actualising the objectives of both universities while the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta has also stated its determination to collaborate with FUNAAB in the areas of establishing a teaching hospital as well as breast cancer research and treatment.
According to Professor Olayanju, who was until his appointment, the Dean, Student Affairs of FUNAAB, stated that he holds FUNAAB in high esteem, most especially, in the areas of sustainable agriculture, product development and raising graduate-farmers. Addressing the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin; Professor Olayanju had stated that, "it is in recognition of your capacity and our passion for collaborative drive for continuous improvement in agricultural practice, as a panacea for hunger, poverty and economic downturn that we have made this visit, to initiate partnership processes towards actualising the objectives of the universities, for the ultimate gain of the society."
"This is my first outing in an official capacity, as the third substantive Vice-Chancellor of the Landmark University, Omu-Aran (to FUNAAB); which I proudly call my home. The essence of which I place premium on, by paying a courtesy visit to the leadership of the University that gave me ample platform for academic and professional experiences that earned me this Vice-Chancellor's appointment in a foremost private and agriculture-based University in Nigeria. We are happy to be here and open to progressive ideas that will transform agricultural and educational landscape of Africa", he added. He said the collaborative effort between both universities would engender practical delivery of life-transforming products.
Professor Enikuomehin, however, assured Landmark University that FUNAAB would be available to give what was required to make the partnership successful. He added that he was pleased to welcome Professor Olayanju back to FUNAAB, saying "it is our pleasure to play host to one of our own. We find it difficult to veer-away from acknowledging that Professor Olayanju is our own. It is really a pride to us that he was found worthy to be appointed as the Vice-Chancellor of Landmark University. I want to say clearly that we will be available to give all that is necessary, to make you succeed, as the Vice-Chancellor of Landmark University, knowing fully well that the partnership would also benefit us." The Acting Vice-Chancellor admonished Landmark University to come up with detailed terms and conditions for the proposed partnership with the assurance that FUNAAB would welcome such since Professor Olayanju already knew what FUNAAB stood for.
While presenting courtesy gift items to the visiting Vice-Chancellor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of FUNAAB, Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele, said she was glad to read of Landmark University’s drive to commercialise agriculture, as she charged Professor Olayanju to walk-the-talk. Present at the occasion were the Chairperson, Committee of Deans and Directors/Dean, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), Professor Bolanle Akeredolu-Ale and the Deputy Director II, Vice-Chancellor Office, Mrs. Toyin Dawodu, among others.
Similarly, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, has lauded the leadership of the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, for its desire at converting FMC into a teaching hospital with the full support of the University, while observing that “It was only someone that does not mean well that will want to remain restricted. We want to be bigger than we are. We want to be more contemporary than we are. We want to be more relevant to this system and community than we are. So, if this is able to come into reality, you can count on us to be partners with you. Whatever it entails, please, count us in”.
He added that the University would key into the innovation, to make the partnership a huge success in terms of research collaboration. The Acting Vice-Chancellor assured the visiting team from FMC that the University would soon put in place, a team, to be headed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele, to discuss how to identify and evaluate areas of short, medium and long term collaboration, using the available funds. Professor Enikuomehin added that the team would also seek other options of getting funds and look into the existing structure, for maximum utilisation.
Professor Enikuomehin further appreciated the hospital management for its support and the series of healthcare accorded members of staff and students of the University. According to him, “It is exactly four days to this time last year; when we had our first crisis that took us months and which affected us in a tangible way. Even when we had the resources, we could not get there. But with just a mere phone call, they (FMC) attended to the issue and gave their best. Thanks, once again. There was no route to the Camp junction because it was blocked and people were scampering for their lives”, while soliciting that the hospital should continue to give its best to FUNAAB.
Earlier, the Chief Medical Director of FMC, Professor Adewale Musa, lamented the increased cases of breast cancer among young people, saying that the ailment was fast becoming aggressive despite all the available treatments and drugs. He identified research gap, as one of the factors responsible for the persistence of the problem, declaring his readiness to fight the deadly disease in conjunction with the University.
“You see, medicine is dynamic. We believe that we must work with what goes on in the world. You must have heard that I am doing a research on breast cancer among Whites and Blacks. When I was in Sagamu, we discovered that younger ones were coming up with breast cancer and we believe that this thing (disease), is becoming aggressive, despite all the treatments and drugs we gave them (patients). So, I wondered; what is really the problem among Blacks that is making it so aggressive. So, we thought of going to the North and I am doing quite a lot of research on it, investigating the case among Whites. It is like the chemistry of breast cancer among Blacks is quite different from that of Whites. Yet, most of the drugs and research have been done on Whites”. He added that the huge benefits await the proposed collaboration with FUNAAB, stressing that FMC cannot operate in isolation regarding improvement in rendering quality health services.
The Chancellor of the University and the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V, has assured members of the University community that better days are here. His Eminence gave the promise during the visit of University Management to the monarch in his palace in Calabar, Cross River State. Leading the team was the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, who intimated the Royal Father on the state of affairs in the University, as well as preparations towards his investiture as the fourth Chancellor of the University.
His Eminence disclosed that he was indeed delighted that FUNAAB had overcome its internal challenges and that the current administration, led by the Acting Vice-Chancellor, was settling down fast, while urging the University Management to ensure speedy reconciliatory efforts, aimed at restoring enduring peace on campus. The Chancellor, who expressed his joy that the University was now under the direct supervision of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMA&RD), noted that running of programmes in the College of Management Sciences (COLMAS) of the University was a good initiative, which should not be scrapped. “Your management science programme is a good initiative. We cannot do away with it. We will sit down with the relevant stakeholders and discuss, with a view to returning the courses back to your institution”, he stated.
The Obong of Calabar expressed his support for the Federal Government’s move to diversify the nation’s economy and return to agriculture, saying the sector holds the key to unlock the various potentials God had endowed the country with. He added that graduates from universities of agriculture, such as FUNAAB, were expected to be employers of labour because they should have been properly equipped with the skills and competencies that were required to be successful farmers and entrepreneurs.
The Chancellor lauded the University Management, which he said, was made up of hardworking, dedicated and trusted people while also reiterating the importance of cordial and robust working relationship in any organisation. “Since my interaction with the new Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, Dr. Barr. Aboki Zhawa, good relationship has returned. Let us pray to God to lead us aright. We will work together to take FUNAAB to the next level”, he assured.
Earlier, the Acting Vice-Chancellor had informed the Chancellor that the visit was to show the total commitment of University Management to ensuring peace and tranquility, and to inform the Obong of Calabar about the level of preparedness to install him as Chancellor of FUNAAB. He added that the University had set necessary machinery in motion to appoint a substantive Vice-Chancellor, Registrar and Bursar. Professor Enikuomehin revealed that normal academic activities had been restored in the University, urging the Chancellor to intervene on the policy of the government to stop programmes in the College of Management Sciences (COLMAS).
“They say COLMAS is an aberration, but we don’t believe it is true. Our belief is that graduates of the College are managers of resources because they have been trained to be.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor lauded the desire of some members of the Etubom Traditional Council to partner FUNAAB on agricultural initiatives such as student exchange programmes that could contribute to raising the bar of excellence in the University and also improving the economy of Nigeria. At the occasion, the chiefs made useful contributions that could bring about positive transformation of the University. They further noted that Nigeria had always paid lip service to agriculture and that practical implementation of agricultural policies had left much to be desired, calling on Nigerians to go back to farming.
They charged Nigerians to always grow what they eat, urging the University to further improve its Town and Gown relationship with enterprises that would further boost research and ensure food security in Nigeria. While charging the authorities at the federal level to change the image of agriculture, through infrastructural revolution, as panacea to encouraging youths to venture into agriculture and by that, Nigeria would have no reasons importing food. The Acting Registrar, Dr. (Mrs.) Linda Onwuka, while giving the vote of thanks, rekindled the hope that the University was on the right track and commended the Chancellor for his goodwill and interest at ensuring that FUNAAB remained a leading University.
Meanwhile, the University officials that accompanied the Acting Vice-Chancellor include the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele; Acting Registrar, Dr. (Mrs.) Linda Onwuka; Acting Bursar, Mrs. Oluremi Oyewunmi; University Librarian, Dr. Mulikat Salaam; Deputy Registrar II (Vice-Chancellor’s Office), Mrs. Oluwatoyin Dawodu; Head, Directorate of Public Relations, Mrs. Emi’ Alawode and Assistant Director, Protocol and Passages, Mr. Adewale Kupoluyi.
A graduate of the University from the Department of Plant Physiology and Crop Production, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT), Mr. Damola Morenikeji, has become an Intern of the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society, Harvard University, United States of America. Damola, being the only African alongside other participants across the globe, contributed to some researches on ethics and governance of artificial intelligence for public good as well as digital economy with personal interest in young people with special focus on Africa. The Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society is dedicated to exploring, understanding and shaping the development of digitally-networked environment. It is a diverse and inter-disciplinary community of scholars, practitioners, technologists, policy experts and advocates that seek to tackle most of the important challenges of the digital age while focusing on tangible real-world impact in public interest.
Damola is a social entrepreneur that is committed to value-based leadership, future of education and governance. He works towards inspiring excellence in leadership through human development, social innovation, leveraging technology while developing systems. He is a recipient of the 2015 Africa Youth Awards for Excellence in Leadership by the Government of Ogun; FUNAAB Vice-Chancellor’s Productivity Award; Finalist in the Life Changer’s Rising Star Award, United Kingdom; Semi-finalist, Thiel Under-20 Fellowship for Innovators; Nominee for the 2016 Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Nigeria by the Junior Chamber International Nigeria; and the 2016 awardee of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Ogun State.
The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta Staff School, has held the 2017 prize-giving ceremony, which also coincides with the 20 years of its existence. The Head Teacher, Mrs. Florence Alade, appreciated the University Management for the unquantifiable support and assistance given to the School, as she expressed her gratitude to the parents, who had contributed immensely to the development of the School.
Mrs. Alade added that the 2016/2017 Academic Session was remarkable for recording outstanding performance of its pupils in all competitions they took part in while some of the outgoing primary six pupils had received scholarships to proceed to the secondary school. She advised them not to forget the moral uprightness they were taught at the FUNAAB Staff School, while imploring the pupils to always be good ambassadors of their alma mater.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele, who is also the Chairperson, FUNAAB Staff School Board, disclosed that she was happy to felicitate with the School management board, staff, pupils and parents on the joyous occasion, saying “It gladdens my heart to note that our School has completed another year without any adverse report or incidence. To God be the glory, honour and adoration”. She thanked members of staff for maintaining high standards, for which the School was known for, while congratulating the finalists for the successful completion of their studies. “And to the prize recipients, your prize is a token that you have done well”, she added. Professor Eromosele further urged them to continue to be good representatives, wished them success in all their endeavours and appreciated the parents for giving sound education to their children.
The Chairman of the Day and former University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Toyin Arowolo, gave kudos to all staff of the School, for the wonderful job they were doing in bringing up the pupils. He appealed to parents to continue giving support to their children, to make them become more relevant in building the nation. Reviewing the magazine produced by the School, the Mother of the Day and Deputy Registrar I (Vice-Chancellor’s Office), Mrs. Oluwatoyin Dawodu, said that the current edition was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the School, where sound morals abound. During the programme, there were the reciting of Ewi (traditional folklore) in Yoruba language, Igbo cultural display, Yoruba cultural dance, choreography, poem recitation, Bata drum and dancing, special presentation by Muslim pupils, drama by the outgone Primary Six pupils and presentation of prizes to outstanding pupils, among others.
To boost the chances of FUNAAB students scaling through post-graduation job placements, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele, has urged students to acquire fundamental skills and experiences that are relevant to their courses of study during their internship programmes.
Professor Eromosele, who is the Chairperson, Committee on Students' Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES), stated that SIWES was part of the approved Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) for approved undergraduate degree programmes in Nigerian universities, aimed at developing participants' occupational competence as well as prepare them for post-graduation real-work situation. Represented by the Director, SIWES, Professor Grace Sokoya, the DVC (Academic), disclosed this at the orientation programme held for non-agricultural students, who are bid to proceed on Industrial Training (IT) programme for the 2016/2017 Academic Session.
She said that part of the mandates of the scheme was to provide the students with an opportunity to apply acquired theoretical knowledge in real-work situations, thereby bridging the gap between knowledge and practice, noting that the training would expose the students to work methods and techniques of handling diverse equipment and machinery. According to her, the orientation programme was organised by the Directorate of SIWES, which was established to serve as the link between the University; the National Universities Commission (NUC); the SIWES Division of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF); industries; and the trainees; to further build the students' capacities and enable them to cope with challenges that might likely confront them in their various training locations.
The Director of SIWES, Professor Sokoya, charged the students to be good ambassadors of the University, adding that they should give the training the best they could offer. She stressed that the students should exploit the opportunity to bridge the existing gap between the theoretical knowledge, they had already acquired in the classrooms, and the actual practice in the industrial sector. She, however, admonished them to be obedient to constituted authorities, adding that they should be regular and punctual at their places of assignments as well as partake actively in the training exercises. According to her, SIWES carries 16 units, which runs for six months and at the end of the their various internships and after verification of the students’ logbook and accompanying forms, the Federal Government, through ITF, would pay the students N15,000, as training allowance.
The Dean, College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM), Professor Clement Adeofun, on his part, said that the College had always been receiving letters of commendation on the performance of its SIWES students from years past, while advising the current set of students to get involved maximally in the activities they would be exposed to at their places of assignments. Represented by the Deputy Dean, Dr. Abdul-Lateef Shotuyo, she tasked them on punctuality and humility. "To get the best of your industrial training, be very humble. It is the trick and whatever training you receive during the programme would come handy, years later," he noted.
The Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC), Professor Lateef Sanni, congratulated the students for the opportunity and tasked them on the relevant soft skills which, according to him, include time management, human relations, critical thinking, effective communication as well as quality and quantity reporting. According to him, "What we are doing is to ‘sell’ you where you are going through your ability to enhance soft skills. Industries are looking for assertive, critical thinker, team players and good time manager”. Similarly, the Dean, College of Biosciences (COLBIOS), Professor David Agboola as well as the Dean, College of Engineering (COLENG), Professor Johnson Adewumi, who was represented by the Deputy Dean, Dr. Adebola Adekunle, briefed the students about their respective colleges, on what was expected of them during the IT period and how to fill their logbooks with the accompanying forms.
Technologists and laboratory scientists in the University have called for safe and secured laboratories, in order to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals and avoidable accidents in the course of working. This call was madea during a one-day training workshop for alaboratory technicians and scientists, titled “New Trends in Laboratory Sazafety and Human Health,” jointly hosted by the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (CEADESE) and the Directorate of Technologists and Technical Staff (DITTECS) of the University.
Declaring the workshop open, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, regretted that many laboratories were prone to significant risks while technologists, scientists and students were more exposed to numerous risks and hazards. The Acting Vice-Chancellor, who was represented at the occasion by the Director (CEADESE), Professor Okanlawon Onagbesa\an, listed some of such risk factors to include high voltage, high and low pressures and temperatures, corrosive and toxic chemicals, and biohazards. He, however, called for great care and constant vigilance in the prevention of laboratory accidents and also tasked technologists and scientists making use of the laboratory to imbibe safety measures such as enforcing laboratory policies, safety review of experimental designs, usage of personal protective equipment and attending workshops on safety training.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor described the workshop as timely, saying that it would bring back stakeholders’ conscious mind on the need to protect themselves and other users of laboratories and facilities. He charged participants to take the day’s discussion with all seriousness, so that they may enjoy their life after retirement, noting that occupational safety should not be taken for granted because people should be protected and be ready to protect themselves.
Delivering the lecture for the day, the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT), Mr. Yem*i Gbadegesin, who spoke through a Safety Officer from the Institute, Mr. Akinfe Micklem had described a laboratory as the repository of che*zmicals, where numerous procedures and operations take place that required safety precautions. He also described safety in the laboratory as a condition in which risks, harm or damages are limited to an acceptable level. The guest lecturer charged every laboratory user to avoid negligence and basic human errors that take place in laboratories. He listed the aftermath of too much exposure to chemicals in the laboratories to include dermatitis, cancer, respiratory and cardiac diseases, ocular diseases, hearing defect conditions and blood-related diseases, among others.
Call for Application:
18th Annual Conference NAAE-Abeokuta 2017
Young Nigerian Scholar Awards
Feed the Future Agricultural Policy Project, MSU
Conference dates: 16th – 19thOctober 2017
Young Scholars’ Seminar date: 16th October 2017
Federal University of Agriculture Post-graduate Conference hall
Deadline for applications: 10th Sept., 2017
Following highly successful National Association of Agricultural Economists (NAAE) conferences in the past, this year’s conference is co-hosted by Feed the Future Agricultural Policy Project, MSU and will include sessions of presentation of cutting-edge research on “Agribusiness Development as a Panacea for Economic Recession in the Midst of Climate Change and Policy Regulations in Nigeria. Further, there will be a special technical section on Feed the Future Agricultural Policy Project and discussion of the research-policy interface.
Fifteen (15) Young Nigerian Scholars located in USAID Nigeria focus States will be selected to participate in the young scholars’ seminar with full funding opportunity to participate in the main conference.
The seminars are scheduled to be held between 4.00 – 6.00pm on the 16th of October 2017, prior to the main conference.
Who is qualified to apply?
- Young scholars from institutions of higher learning located in USAID Nigeria focus States. These are mainly: Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger
- Students who are currently studying Agricultural Economics, Economics, Public policy or graduates of same who are working,
- Graduate student and young scholar with less than 10years of completing PhD and not more than 35 years old in the focal areas.
The seminar will cover the following topics:
- Policy and Agribusiness Development in Nigeria;
- Value Chain Development in the Nigerian agricultural sector;
- Climate change and Agribusiness Development.
- one-page curriculum vitae containing the name, institutions, contact address and at least two referees or mentors addresses and contacts information;
- one-page write-up outlining why the candidate wishes to become Nigerian based expert capable of contributing to Agribusiness Development, climate change, value chain development and regulatory reform in Nigeria;
- 10 pages write-up on any of the seminar topic above.
- Identification, either International Passport, Driver’s licence or any other acceptable identification endorsed by a reputable referee or institution.
Applicants’ write-ups and biographies should be in a single word document, and named: NAAE 2017_YoungScholar_ApplicantLastName.
Kindly note: Late applications and applications that do not conform to the prescribed format above will be automatically disqualified.
Applications will be reviewed according to the following criteria:
- adherence to set guidelines;
- content of application;
- evidence of interest in, and commitment to policy-relevant research in agribusiness development for Nigeria;
- quality of write-up and
- gender representation.
The selection committee may contact your supervisor or mentor before making the final selection.
Selected young scholar will be provided with:
- payment of full conference registration (N16,000)
- accommodation at standard room with breakfast for the duration of the conference (16-19 Oct., 2017).
Selected Participants will be required to cover:
- transport to and from Abeokuta from their various locations and
- any other incidental costs.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities’ UNAAB Multipurpose Co-operative Society recently held its 12th Annual General Meeting. While welcoming co-operators, the immediate past President, Professor Bolanle Akeredolu-Ale and Dean, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD) appreciated the support given to her team in the appraised year by the members of the co-operative society. She also acknowledged the contributions of various stakeholders, most especially, the University Management and ASUU for the betterment of the co-operative society. Professor Akeredolu-Ale appealed to members to give their full support to the incoming executives that were elected during the last meeting. They were: Dr. Omotola Jayeola, Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM), President; Professor Adebukunola Omemu, Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC), Vice-President; Dr. Oluwagbemiga Egbetade, Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine (COLVET), Financial Secretary; Dr. (Mrs.) Regina Ugbaja, Department of Biochemistry, College of Biological Sciences (COLBIOS), Treasurer; Dr. Adeboye Fafiolu, Department of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM), Secretary; and Dr. Segun Oladoye, Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, COLERM, Investment Officer.
The Chairman, Ad-hoc Investment and Committee, Professor Peter Okuneye, Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD) had stated that, the committee met severally and made the following recommendations to be considered for the progress of the society. Educational: establishment of crèche, nursery and primary school, secondary school. Real estate that it would involve acquiring some hectares of land for building hostels and for sale to members, at reasonable but profitable prices. Hospitality business that would be in the form of guest houses or hotels with minimal facilities like small and medium scale businesses, which would include the establishment of eateries, supermarkets, boutique, stationeries, computer and related commodity businesses. transportation businesses: the purchase of taxis and buses for a minimum distance of 200km.
Goodwill messages were sent in by the Acting Bursar, Mrs. Oluremi Oyewunmi, who was represented by Mr. Vincent Egbuna of the Bursary Department; the Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, FUNAAB, Dr. Adebayo Oni, Department of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM) and the Director of Co-operative Services, Ogun State. While giving the acceptance speech, the newly-elected President, Dr. Omotola Jayeola, thanked all the members for the trust bestowed on him and other members of the executive to run the affairs of the society. He, therefore, pledged on behalf of the executives their total loyalty, commitment for the upliftment of the cooperative society.
It has been adjudged globally that, agriculture is not the only sector that demands for the use of land. In many developing nations of the world, without exempting Nigeria, if industries were to be established, the procedure would certainly involve clearing of land before siting the proposed industries. But in advanced countries, such as the United States of America, where there exist strict policies, there are certain restrictions put in place against taking over prime agricultural lands for the purposes of establishing industries.
A Former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development) and a Don in the Department of Soil Science and Land Management (SSLM), College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT) of the University, Professor Felix Salako, made this known while showcasing his research breakthrough. According to him, “The basis of anything that we do should be ensuring that our natural resources are used judiciously. Soil, vegetation and water are found in the environment; how you handle them would determine how healthy and wealthy you are going to be”. Professor Salako had described Soil Conservation as the prevention of the soil from being degraded, adding that it meant maintaining the quality of the soil, as well as improving on it with superior soil management practices. He said that erosion was one of the major ways in which the soil could be degraded, noting that it could equally be degraded by compacting agricultural soils with heavy machinery; a practice that he added, might be okay for engineers, but not for agronomists.
“If you do not conserve your natural resources, you will always regret it in the future. The Bible even made reference to nature conservation where it says, ‘multiply and replenish the earth’. Replenish, there means; to have a mind of conservation. It means you take something out and you give something back to safeguard the future”. According to him, one of the issues about soil erosion by water and environment is that in the process, runoff can carry pollutants, which may end up in surface water bodies that people drink, particularly, in the rural areas and this can compromise the health of such individuals.
Professor Salako, whose major research interest is focused on ‘Soil Physics and Soil Conservation’, stated that conservation of the environment should be a source of concern to everybody, saying that “Now, Nigeria has a population, getting close to 200 million people, how much of suitable land do we have to support this increasing population for agricultural production? He said: “If you can conserve your soil, you can embark on what we call agricultural intensification. It means that you can be on one site and keep cultivating for a longer period than its inherent capability”.
Professor Salako has been an advocate of Conservation Agriculture, as highlighted in his Inaugural Lecture, which was delivered two years ago. He began his research activities at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), where he bagged his B.Agric and M.Agric degrees. The Don gave credit to the late Professor Joe Mbagwu, who supervised a study (B.Agric Project) on the estimation of soil erosion risk at the University of Nigeria Farm and ensured its eventual publication in 1985 with Professor Salako as co-author and that Professor Mbagwu kept mentoring him. Professor Salako added that he had followed up on this study to cover south-eastern Nigeria and very recently, the whole of Nigeria, saying his research works had always been targeted at community and national development. “I could have stopped at the level of UNN Farm but I moved up to the whole of south-east Nigeria; beyond UNN Farm and later to Nigeria, as a country”. The various models and iso-erodent maps for estimating erosion risks in Nigeria featured in Professor Salako’s publications between 2006 and 2010. He stated further that solutions or conservation measures can follow after understanding the processes and the problems, as many of the solutions needed can be found in his research works on soil management.
On the needed precautionary moves against the degradation of soil, the former DVC (Development) said that “I have particularly worked with about 20 leguminous cover crops in relation to soil management, particularly, in the savannah areas of Nigeria, moving from Ibadan towards northern Nigeria (Mokwa, Zaria and Bauchi, among others). Specifically, such works were to provide cover for the soil, improve soil structure and provide nutrients. I have worked in the area of selecting cover crops that would be efficient enough to provide soil cover and improve the quality of the soil”. Furthermore, Professor Salako said he had worked in the area of agroforestry for soil management in these Savannah areas, as well as in the rain-forest zones such as Onne, near Port-Harcourt, Rivers State. He added that trees were characterised by their litter production and soil improvement and were planted or managed fallows to determine if the traditional fallow length of about one and a half decade could be reduced, saying six years of fallowing, whether planted or natural, proved to be enough for severely degraded soils, to be put back to productive and profitable cropping.
“My association with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan (IITA), which started in 1985 when I was given a grant to study for my M.Agric, has always been rewarding. It allowed access to excellent experimentation, data collection, analyses and publication. I led a research team there to provide insights into the process of soil erosion under mound tillage, when the land was cropped for yam. Such data were non-existent by the time the study was carried out and published in 2006. Having envisaged that many might not have access to needed equipment to repeat some of the experiments I carried out on soil management, I often ensured the provision of models (equations) to predict or evaluate difficult-to-evaluate soil parameters. Some call these pedo-transfer functions”, he noted.
Professor Salako linked food security to soil conservation and management. He stated that food security implies adequate supply, high quality food, accessibility and “If you are able to conserve the soil and increase your yield, improve the quality of your crop, you have contributed significantly to food security. If food production is increased, if it is accessible and of good quality, then people can have balanced diets, meaning that people can choose the crop that they would plant, depending on the demand”.
On where he would be in the next 10 years, he said that his future was in God’s hands. According to him, “The much I can do is to get it right today and let the future take care of itself”. Recalling that in January 2016, he got involved in the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI), a Bill & Melinda Gates’ sponsored-project, which was given to IITA of which he is the South-West Coordinator. He noted that the concern of the initiative was to increase the yield of cassava roots from about 10 tonnes per hectare, to more than 30 tonnes per hectare, particularly, in high density population areas, where access to land is highly restrictive. “We are looking at improving yields using soil management and agronomic practices like tillage, inter-cropping, use of fertilizer and time for planting cassava. Apart from improving the yield, we are concerned about the quality of cassava yields and supply of quality cassava roots to industries, which use cassava for starch production, and other products”.
He reiterated that cassava was now gradually becoming an industrial crop because, “If a crop like cassava is being used in industries, then the soil must be well-managed and conserved to produce more”. Apart from community development through research, Professor Salako said he had always used his Research Opportunities for Capacity Building and Institutional Development in providing equipment for the SSLM Laboratory and for field work. Currently, ACAI has one Assistant Lecturer in the field of Soil Science that is being trained in Switzerland for the PhD. Others are five postgraduate students, out of which, four are in Department of Soil Science and Land Management (COLPLANT), while one is in the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development (AERD), College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD) that were being supported for their Master’s and PhDs.
Professor Salako disclosed that “We are taking care of the future, through capacity building and community development. We are working with more than 300 farmers in different places in Ogun, Oyo and Osun states. Studies have been done minimally in Ondo State. We are encouraging these farmers to adopt agronomic practices that seem to be better than traditional practices, after being involved in the processes of cultivation. While we are doing research, we are also doing ‘extension’ with it. Cassava is not about getting garri or fufu (cassava flour derivatives) alone; it is also about getting starch and getting it processed as high quality flour. The use of cassava is rapidly expanding in the country and we need to expand its production”.
While rating research work generally in Nigeria, the Don said that the truth about Nigeria was that researchers had done a lot, saying that credit should be given to past researchers. According to him, “We need to articulate the results that we got from various researches and translate them for national development. In view of the short-comings in the national system, I had to seek support and collaboration from various international organisations, to get my work done. All these collaborations usually led to getting results for Nigeria and my institution. For instance, I spent a year at the University of Venice, Italy, for a hydrological study, using isotopic technique but later ensured that a PhD student emerged under my supervision and applied the technique to tilled soils in FUNAAB, through a linkage that I facilitated for him to carry out his laboratory analyses in Italy”, while charging the government to assist researchers by providing the enabling environment in which they can be productive.
Commenting on the challenges being encountered in the course of his research, Professor Salako, who is also the 48th Inaugural Lecturer of FUNAAB, said that there would always be problems or challenges. “You don’t run away from challenges. They will always be there. What is important is to set your goals and move to achieve them”, while noting that basic things like electricity and water must be available for meaningful research and development. Research grants must always be used judiciously for transparency and accountability”, he added.
Professor Salako further gave wise counsel to young scientists and researchers, urging them to “Always ensure that you maintain good relationship with your collaborators or donors. Hard work and accountability are watchwords in such relationships”. Noting that over-dependence on foreign interventions may not be helpful on the long run, the Professor of Soil Physics, advised that the government should invest well in basic amenities. He had asked: “what would it cost the government to build standard laboratories and sponsor researches for specific development goals? We all need to know that Nigerians are the people who will make Nigeria great”, the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development) said.
A total of 171 students have been administered the matriculated oath into the Part-Time Degree Programme of the University for the 2016/2017 Academic Session. Addressing the students during the matriculation programme, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin congratulated the students for scaling through the admission hurdle into FUNAAB. He commended academic and non-teaching staff, as well as stakeholders in the University, for their commitments and unalloyed support during its trying moments and solicited for better understanding among all stakeholders, to move the University to an enviable status.
Speaking through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele; he cautioned the students against acts of indiscipline and other social vices, saying "the occasion of matriculation ceremony is to admit, advise, as well as caution students on some salient issues that border on ethics and values that would guarantee successful studentship and nurturing them to become good citizens of their various nationalities. Any student, who contravenes acceptable norms and practices of a decent behaviour, would face sanction." The Acting Vice-Chancellor urged the students to be disciplined in both academic and social activities, stressing that miscreants and academic pretenders, who have other reasons for being in the University, aside academic pursuit, would not be tolerated. Charging the students to steer clear of examination malpractices and all forms of vices, he added that FUNAAB was an institution that is governed by appropriate rules and regulations while encouraging the matriculating students to play by the rules.
"Matriculation is not just a ceremony of taking photographs, but a serious business of oath-taking and signing of legal documents. It is an agreement between you and the University with a promise to perform your duties and obligations, to respect, defend, promote the rules and regulations, and the good name of the University. I urge you to work hard, believe in yourself, shun pride and arrogance, make the best use of our facilities and always pray for exceeding grace, sound health, divine protection, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and success, in your academic endeavours." he said. He gave the breakdown of the statistics of the newly-admitted as follows: College of Agriculture Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), 25; College of Biological Sciences (COLBIOS), 33; College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM), 23 and College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC), 32; College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS), 48 and College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT) admitted 10 students, amounting to a total of 171 students.
Earlier, the Acting Registrar of the University, Dr. (Mrs.) Linda Onwuka, had administered the matriculation oath on the students. Prior to the matriculation ceremony, the Centre for Part-Time Degree Programme had held an orientation programme for the new students, where they were lectured on various topics that bothered on examinations and records, course registration, rules and regulations, course unit system, library services, among others. The fresh students were given additional information by representatives from the Guidance and Counseling Unit, the University Health Services as well as the Co-ordinator, Part-Time Degree Programme, Dr. Israel Osunsina.
The Board of Trustees, Centre for the Advancement of Research in Diabetes in Nigeria, has concluded plans to establish a diabetes research centre in the University. The centre, when operational, would be established towards fostering research and the use of medicinal plants for the benefit of diabetic patients; both in Nigeria and Africa. Announcing this was the Grand Patron of the Centre and former President of Nigeria, Chief (Dr.) Olusegun Obasanjo, during a working visit of the Board of Trustees to the land allocated for the centre by FUNAAB.
Chief Obasanjo who is also an Honorary Awardee of the University, recalled what brought about the idea of establishing a diabetic centre, stating that he believed Nigeria had not done enough in the area of research for medicinal plants and diabetic patients, adding that another reason was that Emeritus Professor Oladipupo Akinkugbe, who is the Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the centre was a good creator of ideas. The former President confirmed the efficacy and effectiveness of herbal medicines, thereby calling on stakeholders and practitioners to promote its cause through research and collaboration.
He said pharmaceutical companies have not extracted up to 20 per cent of needed “active ingredients” in roots and herbs, to cure ailments and diseases, while confirming that China and South Africa had made appreciable progress in the field. While advising stakeholders to wake up to their responsibilities, the former President said the initiative would be extended to all universities in Nigeria and Africa, adding that he was happy that the project would be taking-off from FUNAAB, which is located Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The Grand Patron of the centre urged the University to assist in carrying out the perimeter survey, topographic map and directional sign posts for the sites, while the research centre would handle the fencing, stating that staffing would be done between the centre and the University.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of the centre, Emeritus Professor Oladipupo Akinkugbe, said the project, which was conceived nine years ago, would promote collaborative research for the promotion of Town and Gown; offer curative mechanism for diabetic patients across Africa and ensure health-free society, adding that “you need this kind of collaboration in the universities for the overall development and the Town and the Gown, like that of the FUNAAB to Get Diabetes Centre
University of Ibadan and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture”. The Emeritus Professor of Medicine, commended FUNAAB for taking the bull by the horn, to host the research centre, saying the University was doing a unique thing and beating other institutions. He stated that the World Health Organisation (WHO), was equally supporting traditional herbal research, because plants were of great medicinal value. Professor Akinkugbe advised stakeholders to develop local resources for the benefit of Nigerians, calling for the best scientists in FUNAAB to collaborate with the centre.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, expressed appreciation of the entire members of the University community to the former President and the Board of Trustees, for counting FUNAAB worthy to host the centre. “We are very excited, we are very happy. It makes a difference to us. Thank you, Sir, for this initiative”, he said. Professor Enikuomehin assured the Board of Trustees of unalloyed support, co-operation and full collaboration towards making the project a reality. He further announced the donation of 30 hectares of land to the centre, saying that the location was carefully chosen, mindful of long-term value to both the centre and the University.
Meanwhile, the Governing Council of the University has approved the constitution of a negotiating team with the Diabetes Research Group. The FUNAAB team is made up of Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic); Professor Christian Ikeobi, Immediate past Dean, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM); Architect Babatunde Anasanwo, Director, Physical Planning Department; and Mrs. Yemisi Daramola, of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office with the task of negotiating with the Diabetes Research Group on terms and conditions for the establishment, and the need to strike a good deal with regard to the future dividends accruable from the centre, in addition to ensuring that concrete agreement is endorsed by both parties.