•Orders law enforcement agencies to fish out people making inciting statements
•Blames underdevelopment on poor research
Okon Bassey in Uyo
As the 2019 general election draws near, with tension building steadily to fever pitch around the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has issued stern warnings to the elite to steer clear of inflammatory comments, saying his government “will never condone or tolerate” such. Buhari stated this yesterday in Uyo at the 24th convocation ceremony of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO). He directed the security agencies to be on the lookout for persons that make statements capable of instigating crisis.
The president urged tertiary institutions in the country to guide communities to make informed decisions during next year’s general election.
Buhari said, “Our elites must stop misleading our people, they must refrain from speaking ill of this nation and spreading hate, they must refrain from spreading fear in the society. The development and progress we all clamour for can never thrive in a hate-filled and divisive society.
“At this point, I want to be very clear and unequivocal; the Federal government will never condone or tolerate incendiary remarks from any person or group of persons, which are meant to harass, intimidate, cause fear and spread hate, no matter how highly place such person is.
“Law enforcement agencies should fish out people who make inciting statements, instigate civil disobedience, broadcast haste speeches or stir up strife, riot and rebellion and bring them to book.
“The federal government is also not in support of farmers-herders conflict and killings. Government is doing and will continue to do its best to ensure that peace is maintained and security of lives is guaranteed in our country. We should continue to live together as brothers and sisters.”
The president, who is the Visitor to the university, was represented by the Director, Corporate Communications, Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), Ibrahim Usman Yakasai.
To solve the major challenges that Nigeria faces, Buhari appealed to universities in country to focus more on technological and scientific research. He said dearth of adequate technological and scientific research was a major cause of Nigeria’s underdevelopment.
“Our universities should be able to rank high among other universities in Africa and the world so as to be able to come up with solutions to our economic and political problems,” he declared.
The president said the federal government had continued to support research and development at the universities through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) to leverage on scholarly research. He maintained that the country would continue to look up to the universities for enduring solutions to some of the challenges facing the country.
He specifically commended Dr. Etukudo Jimmy of the Department of Human Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, UNIUYO, for a research breakthrough on the use of herbal drug for the cure of gastric ulcer and has been granted a patent in this regard.
“The federal government share in the glory of this achievement as the funding for the researches was a federal government-meditated research facility from the World Bank. But there are still more to be done to take the invention to the market shelves at a price affordable by the consumers who need the invention most,” Buhari said.
The president enjoined the new graduates to imbibe the virtues of sincerity and hard work.
The Vice Chancellor of UNIUYO, Professor Enefiok Essien (SAN), disclosed during the convocation and pre-convocation briefings that 32 of the graduands had First Class while one honorary doctorate was awarded posthumously to Sister (Dr) Ann Ward, Mission Missionary of Mary (MMM), who worked at St. Luke’s Hospital, Anua, in Uyo.
Essien explained that a total of 4,539 graduands, made up of 631 postgraduates, 3,678 undergraduates, and 230 sub-degree students were passing out from the institution.
The vice chancellor said the university had 100 per cent status for all its academic programmes.
The Vice Chancellor said the main challenge of the university was funding. He complained that since the inception of the university about 27 years ago, the federal government had not given the university a take-off grant
“I should add that the university has never had a take-off grant since its creation as a federal university and is therefore in dire need of funds for befitting physical structures,” Essien stressed.
Also speaking, the Chancellor of the University, Alhaji Abubarkar Adamu Maje, the Emir of Hadejia, advised tertiary institutions in the country to veer towards entrepreneurship in their curricula. This, according to him, will encourage self-employment and boost industrialisation.
“I sincerely believe that University of Uyo has been in the forefront of this new emphasis to equip todays graduates with necessary know-how and creativity rather than roam about for employment and non-existent outlets,” he stated.