By CECILIA OLOGUNAGBA
NEW YORK – The Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, has appealed to Nigerians in Diaspora to support education in the country, saying that the Federal Government cannot fund education alone.
Na’Allah, who made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York, urged Nigerians abroad to give back to the country by supporting their Alma Mater.
Na’Allah was on a two-day working visit to the U.S. with the University of Abuja Alumni Association in USA.
The visit is to mobilise support and partner with the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York and the King Baudouin Foundation, a U.S.-based independent organisation.
“I am making this appeal because I’m a university administrator and I know the way lecturers go on strike is abnormal.
“Strike is not best for our system, students who come for four years programmes end up spending five to six years.
“Believe me, government alone cannot do it. All of us must come together – private people, students, parents, government – to reshape our university system to become among the best in the world,’’ he said.
Na’Allah said that Nigeria deserved the support and goodwill of its citizens living abroad, saying “Nigerians in Diaspora wherever you are, Nigeria is your country.
“Nigeria has invested in you, mostly those that went to the Federal Universities because your tuition fees were subsidised. You should give back to your country.
“If you compare the tuition fees in the U.S or Canada, you will see that the government had subsidised education for its citizens, you should please support the system.
“All citizens of Nigeria anywhere, whether you graduate from the University of Abuja or not, please look at ways you can support your alma mater to attain that standard you are seeing abroad.’’
For instance, University of Abuja as a university in the capital city of Abuja, aspiring to become a world class institution, has so many needs.
“The alumni associations all over the world should begin to think about their universities in terms of infrastructure, funding and research support.’’
The vice chancellor said his priority was to turn the University of Abuja into an environment that students would always want to be, and to achieve that, facilities are needed.
Na’Allah said facilities from lecture theaters to a very strong Internet infrastructure, computer laboratories throughout the university to counselling services, sport services and fitness centre, would be needed.
“More importantly for us is scholarships. We want to institute scholarship and alumni association anywhere in the world can support by attaching its support to a specific purpose.
“It could be scholarships that will encourage women, in different areas such as engineering, or need-based scholarships supporting students who cannot pay their school fees, or merit based-scholarships,’’ he said. (NAN)