- May 11, 2023
Ag. VICE CHANCELLOR HOLDS INTERACTIVE SESSION WITH OFFICERS OF THE NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF SECURITY STUDIES, HARPS ON ECONOMIC INTEGRATION
The Ag. Vice Chancellor of the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo, Prof Christopher C. Eze, last Wednesday held an interactive session with officials of the Nigerian Institute of Security Studies, at the Senate Chambers of the University.
The officials came with participants of the Executive Intelligence Management Course, Syndicate 3, who were on a tour of five states of Southern Nigeria to research on the broad theme: “Globalization and Regional Economic Integration: Implications for Sustainable Development in Africa”.
The purpose of visit was to seek the opinion of the cerebral Vice Chancellor on the theme, which would enable them arrive at conclusions and recommendations that would be submitted to the authorities.
In his response, the Vice Chancellor averred that Africa as a continent needs to resist neo-colonialism which is seriously hampering its economic integration. He wondered why Africa cannot come together to develop a common visa as obtains in Europe. He also condemned the unhealthy affinity the Francophone countries have with France, their colonial master.
In his words, “Economic integration is the way to go in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular. There is urgent need for economic integration in the transport sector as no economy works optimally without an effective transport sector. In this regard we must ensure that the air, sea, rail and road transport infrastructure is integrated enough to guarantee economic stability.
“Furthermore, we need start adding value to our resources instead of exporting them raw to other countries where they are processed. Why must we keep exporting raw materials and be exporting labour at the same time? Cassava, as a crop, has tens of values in its chain. So when we export cassava in its raw form, we only create jobs for other countries. This is the same problem we are experiencing in the petroleum sector where we export the raw crude without adding value to them.
"Ironically, we return to the international market to import the byproducts of the crude which we export. In the country today, we are faced with a spiraling unemployment rate, even when we can take decisive steps in curtailing it. If you go to Benue today, you may see fruits of all kinds wasting away with no industries to harness and process them. In other words we are literally allowing economic opportunities to slip from us.
"Let me state that there is a connection between the economy and security. Where there is food security, there is likely to be less security challenges.” Reacting to a number of questions bordering on the efforts of the university in the area of food security, Prof Eze told the visiting researchers that the young university has been able to cultivate 10 hectares of land in addition to running a thriving livestock farm. He hinted that the institution is making effort to build productive partnerships with local and foreign firms to add value to the primary products of the farms operated by the institution.
He saluted the efforts of the governor in encouraging students to study Agricultural Sciences by subsidizing their fees. He further eulogized the governor for promising to link up the university to foreign partners.The Vice Chancellor also told his visitors that every student of the university is under obligation to offer a course in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences as a way of making them compliant to the ideals of the two areas.
In addition, he stated that the Faculty of Agriculture had engaged farmers in the host community on the dynamics of planting high-yield crops in their farms, after which they donated cassava cuttings to them.
Leader of the delegation, Dr. Nka Obi-Bisong, expressed joy at the quality of interaction enjoyed with the Vice Chancellor, adding that their institute would be ready to enter into relevant collaborations with the university. The Study Coordinator, Prof Oshita Oshita commended the Vice Chancellor for the warm reception he gave them and for adding value to the theme of their study.
High point of the visit was the presentation of a gift of gratitude to the Acting Vice Chancellor. Other Principal Officers present at the occasion were the Registrar, Prince E.C. Njemanze, Bursar, Mr. Robert Anikputa and the Librarian, Prof Chidi Nwosu.