Cross section of graduands at the maiden ceremony. Inset, UNAAB VC, Prof. Oluwafemi Olaiya Balogun presenting a certificate to the Best Graduating Student.

Cross section of graduands at the maiden ceremony. Inset, UNAAB VC, Prof. Oluwafemi Olaiya Balogun presenting a certificate to the Best Graduating Student.

The University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB), has graduated the pioneer set of its Foreign African Scholarship Scheme (UFASS).

The Graduation ceremony which took place last Tuesday at the University’s Senate Chamber was graced by The Gambian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mrs. Angela Colley, alongside her Sierra-Leonean and Liberian counterparts, who were represented by the Secretary, Mission’s Office, Mr. Doddley Eliot, and the Protocol Attaché, Chief Cliff Nzeruem, respectively.

The event was hosted by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluwafemi Olaiya Balogun, who led Principal Officers and other top shots of the University, while the Director, Student Support Services, National Universities Commission (NUC), Abuja, Hajia Uwani Yahya who was represented by Dr. Abdulkareem Obaje delivered the Graduation Lecture.

The Acting Registrar, Mr. Adeleke Adeboye presented certificates to a total of ten UFASS beneficiaries who successfully completed a six-month skill acquisition training in various agro-entrepreneurial practices.

A breakdown of the performances of the graduands of whom nine were Liberians with a Gambian, showed Moses S. Davies, a Liberian who studied Vegetable Production in the College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT), graduating with Distinction while eight bagged Upper Credit with only one in the Lower Credit bracket.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Balogun disclosed that the Senate and the Governing Council approved the UNAAB Foreign African Scholarship Scheme (UFASS), as part of the Internationalization efforts of the University, stressing that the scheme aimed at imparting scholars from neighboring African countries with skills for sustainable development and poverty reduction in their home countries.

The Vice-Chancellor charged the graduands to justify their newly-acquired skills, in championing entrepreneurial war against socio-economic predicaments of their home countries.

Delivering a lecture titled, “The Role of Skills Acquisition in Nation Building”, the Director, Student Support Services, of the National Universities Commission, Abuja, Hajia Uwani Yahya, identified systematic exposure to programme on skills acquisition by youths, as panacea to curbing incidences of armed robbery, youth restiveness, kidnapping, suicide bombing and other vices, plaguing the African nations.

Hajia Uwani Yahya, who was represented by Dr. Abdulkareem Obaje, said NUC will leave no stone unturned in the area of youth empowerment, as it is currently collaborating with the Education Trust Fund (ETF) towards building and equipping Entrepreneurship Development Centres in all Nigerian Universities.

Hajia Yahya, described the initiative by UNAAB as visionary and commended it for “weathering the storm of lack of funds, unfavourable business environment to a bold step toward galvanizing this continental effort through the introduction of UFASS”