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Federal government assures protection of university autonomy in accordance with legal terms

By Anthony Maliki, Abuja

The Federal Government has insisted that it will not interfere with the autonomy of federal universities as enshrined in the Universities Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Act which empowers Universities to discharge their functions and exercise their responsibilities without undue external interference.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, gave the assurance when management of the University of Jos led by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tanko Ishaya paid him a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja.

According to the Attorney-General, the federal government will only perform its statutory role of providing the necessary funding and ensuring overall guidance as long as the managements of the institutions conduct their activities within the ambit of their mandates and exercise their powers responsibly.

The Minister, who is a distinguished Alumnus of the University of Jos, noted that the products of the University have always been outstanding in their various fields of endeavour and commended the University authorities for continually pursuing the path of excellence in scholarship and holistic human development.

A 1984 graduate of Law from the University of Jos, Chief Fagbemi recalled with nostalgia his days in the University which he described as a life-changing experience, and stated that he will do all within his capacity to support the University of Jos to attain its full potential.

The Attorney-General also threw his full weight behind the University’s efforts towards hosting the next edition of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) competition and commended the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tanko Ishaya and his team for the effort to position the University on a higher pedestal.

While acknowledging the recognition given to him by his alma mater, the Minister confirmed his readiness to key into some of the University’s flagship initiatives including the building of a Legacy Project and presentation of a Distinguished Alumni Lecture at the University after studying all the necessary details.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ishaya recalled that it was with great pride that the University received the news that one of its illustrious products has been appointed as Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

Professor Ishaya, however, noted that the elevation came as no surprise given that Chief Fagbemi has been a leading light in the legal profession for several decades.

The Vice-Chancellor applauded the minister for being a great Ambassador of the University and believes Chief Fagbemi’s uncommon accomplishments both as a legal luminary and astute technocrat will serve as a motivating factor to the present crop of Students, Staff, Alumni and other members of the University community in helping them achieve their dreams.

Professor Ishaya solicited the Attorney-General’s support towards encouraging the Federal Government to allow Nigerian Universities operate with greater independence as conferred by the statutes establishing them and in line with international best practices which he believes will enable the institutions compete favourably with their peers around the world.

Professor Ishaya used the occasion to inform the Minister that the University has secured the hosting rights to organize the next NUGA sports festival and reiterated that the institution is on course to stage the best Games ever in the competition’s history, which he sought the support of Chief Fagbemi to achieve by leveraging on his extensive contacts and enormous goodwill.

The Vice-Chancellor also invited the Minister to visit his alma mater and interact with members of the University community during which he can use the opportunity to present a Distinguished Alumni Lecture and identify a Legacy Project that he can undertake.Also contributing, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), University of Jos, Professor Joash Amupitan, SAN, prayed for a successful tenure for the Minister and encouraged him to influence things that will positively improve the fortunes of his alma mater, Nigeria and humanity as a whole.

Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of souvenirs including a beautifully decorated leather mat and pillows branded with the Unijos logo and colours from the Naraguta Leather Works, to remind Chief Fagbemi of his days at the University.Other members of the delegation that visited the Attorney-General were the Registrar, Dr Rejoice Songden; Bursar, Mr Philip Umbugala; University Librarian, Dr Thomas Adigun; Senior Deputy Registrar, Information and Publications, Abdullahi Abdullahi; Deputy Registrar, Vice Chancellor’s Office, Mr John Ezekiel Chagga; Abuja Liaison Officer, Mrs Shitnaan Hoomkwap and the Head, ICE FM UniJos, Mr Daniel Mallum.

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