President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said the the Nigerian Government has set up a N3 billion National Research Fund.
Mr. Buhari made the disclosure in Sokoto on Saturday in a message to the Joint 32nd, 33rd and 34th Convocation and 40th Anniversary of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
The President, who was represented by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, said the fund was set up to assist the various universities to undertake meaningful researches.
Mr. Buhari explained that such researches were aimed at solving the myriad of problems facing Nigeria currently.
The President specifically charged the nation’s universities to undertake researches in solar and other renewable energy sources.
“The universities should embrace education to solve the challenges facing the nation now.
“Universities should also be vanguards in the diversification of the nation’s revenue sources in view of the falling prices of crude oil in the world market.
“Universities should also rack their brains and come up with alternative sources of sustaining the nation’s economy,’’ Mr. Buhari said.
He further expressed the commitment of the Federal Government to continue to be alive to its responsibilities to the education sector.
The president explained that commitment led to the increase in the budgetary allocation to the sector in 2016.
He also promised that universities would continue to be assisted to function effectively.
The president urged the Organised Private Sector and other stakeholders to complement the efforts of the government in funding education at all levels.
The Chancellor of the University and the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, solicited the support of President Buhari in ensuring the success of the ongoing war against corruption.
Oba Akiolu, who was installed as Chancellor of the university at the event, further said, “Buhari is a focussed, patriotic, pious and committed leader who needs the support of all Nigerians’’.
The University’s Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, George Egabor, said although subventions to the institution had improved, it was largely inadequate.
“As such, we cannot maintain our infrastructure, provide essential services , as well as other services required for the university’s development,’’ Egabor said.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, commended Mr. Buhari for his interest and commitment to the progress of the university.
NAN reports that 11,513 graduates received various Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates, with 57 first class degrees.
Five eminent Nigerians were conferred with Honorary Doctorate Degrees.
They were the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III; Oba of Lagos and Chancellor of the university, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu.
The rest were former Defence Minister, Retired Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma and the Executive Director, Public Sector, First Bank Nigeria Ltd., Dauda Suleiman,
In the same vein, three retired eminent public officers were conferred with Emeritus appointments.
They were Prof. Shehu Galadunchi and Prof. Mahdi Adamu, first and second Vice Chancellors of the institution, respectively, who were appointed as Vice Chancellors Emeritus.
Similarly, Prof. A.T. Suleiman was appointed as Professor Emeritus.
Mr. Tinubu, who responded on behalf of the recipients commended the University for bestowing the honour on them.
The former governor promised that the honour would spur them to do more to sustain peace and unity of Nigeria, as well as national development.
He said Nigeria was on the brink in 2015 but that the APC brought the desired change to the nation.
Mr. Tinubu urged Nigerians to be patient and fervently prayerful.
The ceremony was attended by the Governors of Lagos, Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi and Zamfara and Sokoto Deputy Governor, Ahmed Aliyu.
Similarly, former Governors of Ondo and Cross River States, Bisi Akande and Donald Duke witnessed the event.
It was also attended by various Obas, Emirs, national and state lawmakers and other dignitaries across Nigeria.