The Federal Government has directed the Ministry of Education to organise a national summit on research and development within the second quarter of 2020.

President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive on Tuesday during the convocation ceremony of the Alex-Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI).

Buhari, represented by Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, said that the summit would enhance research and development in the country.

He said the summit should draw participants from the academia, industry and top government functionaries.

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“The summit will help in drawing up a draft agenda for the country’s research priorities as our development as a nation can only be concretised if we succeed in getting our research and development priorities right.

“Development brings about peace and harmony and I call on all universities in the country to support through curriculum re-engineering and academic discourse, government efforts of creating a more peaceful, united and cohesive nation.

“Our diverse nation is confronted with the challenges of a high population growth rate and the academia must guide the thinking and actions that convert these challenges to opportunities.

“Let us through our thinking, teaching and actions, turn our large, diverse population into a reservoir of human resource capital that will leverage this government’s economic recovery and growth plan,” the president said.

He congratulated AE-FUNAI for a successful convocation ceremony and urged it to savour the sense of achievements and fulfilment that the event brought to the entire university community.

“I congratulate the graduands for successfully passing through their academic programmes as this is just the beginning of your sojourn into greater achievements and brighter future,” he said.

Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, the university’s Vice-Chancellor said the institution was celebrating the first set of graduands from the school of postgraduate studies.

Nwajiuba said that five persons obtained a Master of Science degree, while 13 persons earned the Post Graduate Diploma.

He further said that of the 512 graduands from the various faculties, the Faculty of Basic Medical Science produced 47 graduands while Faculty of Humanities had 95 graduands.

“The Faculty of Management and Social Sciences had 220 graduands, while the Faculty of Science produced 150 graduands,” he said.

He also 20 graduands came out with First Class Honours, while 205, 263 and 24 had Second Class Honours (Upper Division), Second Class Honours (Lower Division) and Third Class Division, respectively.

Gov. David Umahi, represented by his Deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, congratulated the graduands and their parents for the feat and pledged the government’s continued assistance to the institution.

Oba Michael Gbadebo, the Alake of Egbaland and university’s Chancellor, commended the management of the institution for its remarkable developmental stride.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the institution also conferred a posthumous honorary doctorate degree on late Dr Philip Effiong, the Second-in-Command to the Leader of defunct Biafra, Late Chief Chukwuemeka Ojukwu. (NAN)

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