Michael Okpara University demands N10bn take-off grant from FG



Michael Okpara University demands N10bn take-off grant from FG

By Sam Oditah

Umudike University of Agriculture’s vice-chancellor (VC) Professor Maduebibisi Iwe said the institution had requested a take -off grant of N10 billion from the federal government.

Iwe said this to Umuahia on Friday during a press conference on the occasion of his 100 days in power.

He said the request was forwarded to the federal government through the Presidential Visiting Panel (PVP) during his recent visit to the institution.

He said the university had not received a take-off grant since its inception in 1993.

He said: “We are still requesting a takeoff grant because we have not found any documents showing that the university has obtained a takeoff grant.

“The take-off subsidy should not have been less than 1 billion naira in 1993/1994.”

He said management, in their presentation to the visiting panel, had raised it to N10 billion.

He also spoke of the fate of certain members of the university’s staff, whose appointments were “suspended” in 2017 by the administration of the late Professor Francis Otunta.

He said those whose letters of appointment stated “offer of appointment” were reinstated, while those with one-year temporary appointments were suspended, after expiration.

Iwe further stated that the university did not demote any professors during the same period, as reported in a section of the media.

He said the university had only made “appropriate placement” of certain academic staff, in accordance with a directive from the university’s board.

He said the board has also investigated alleged irregularities in employment and promotions during Professor Hilary Edeoga‘s administration.

Speaking about some of his accomplishments, he said he has kept his promise to ensure that the university’s Senate conducts its business through online and electronic copy processes.

Iwe also said that graduates’ transcripts up to 2010 are now ready to be used online, and the remaining 2,000 transcripts will soon be ready to upload to the platform.

He said his administration had also resolved some issues that were hampering the completion of some construction projects in the institution, through peaceful negotiations with contractors.

He hoped work would resume soon on the projects, which included the College of Agricultural Economics, Rural Sociology and Extension, the College of Physical and Applied Sciences, among others.

The vice-chancellor also said his administration has launched an open-door policy in its relations with students and that efforts are underway to provide the necessary infrastructure for effective teaching and learning.

He also said workers’ welfare issues were being addressed, adding that management had started paying the two years of backlog of liability compensation to deserving workers.

He said his administration also resolved a five-year dispute with Aeon Consult Ltd, which impounded 45 vehicles purchased for shuttle services by the university.

He expressed his joy that the vehicles have been handed over to the university and are currently undergoing renovations.

The VC also said it made history on June 8, when the university signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet)after two years of “prolonged stalemate.”

He said: “Today the university’s state-of-the-art weather station built and equipped by NiMet is fully functional. “

He said the agency was also committed to equipping the university’s lab, “possibly at no cost to the university,” in addition to training staff and donating reference material.

Iwe said the university’s Agricultural Graduate Loan Scheme, which was recently inaugurated by his administration, gave between N 120,000 and N400,000 to the first group of beneficiaries.

He said the initiative was in line with his commitment to produce self-sufficient farmers.

He said the loan was linked to fish production, poultry farming, cassava production, pig farming, egg sales, palm oil marketing and the sale of agricultural inputs.

He said his administration had also purchased state-of-the-art agricultural equipment worth 2 million Naira as part of the process of launching large-scale agriculture at the university. (NAA)


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