The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) has pledged to give maximum support to the Federal University Lokoja (FUL) under the dynamic leadership of Professor Olayemi Akinwumi towards actualizing his vision of digitalizing most of the University's operations and building a 21st Century citadel of learning that is ICT-driven.
Professor Pantami gave the assurance when the Management of the University led by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi paid him a courtesy visit at his office in Abuja on Thursday, March 23, 2023, where he made a passionate appeal for the Minister's kind assistance in providing e-learning and research facilities for the twelve-year-old Institution which had newly moved to its Permanent Site and grappling with a myriad of challenges, including infrastructural deficit and internet connectivity at the new campus.
During the meeting, the Vice-Chancellor noted that given the dire financial constraints of the University, and his administration's desire to achieve significant development in the area of Digital Learning and Research while keeping pace with FUL's counterparts, there was the need to approach well-meaning individuals or organizations and seek intervention from relevant agencies of government that could assist the University and the administration in achieving their objectives, adding that the government alone can no longer shoulder the onerous responsibility of funding education in Nigeria. He commended the Minister's efforts for the various intervention projects carried out by his Ministry.
Furthermore, Professor Akinwumi stated that FUL has made tremendous progress and recorded modest achievements within the past twelve years of its establishment. On the uniqueness of the University, the VC noted that FUL's strategic location (Lokoja) is very relevant to the history of Nigeria as it is the first Capital of Nigeria and that the Confluence State has become a melting point for Nigerians from diverse cultures and languages. Similarly, he intimated the Minister that the students of the University are drawn from all the States of the Federation, thereby making FUL a unifying academic institution in the country while underscoring the advantage of its proximity to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Some of the prayers and specific requests formally presented to the Minister by the Vice-Chancellor include computer systems (desktops and laptops), internet connectivity and e-learning facilities (that would enhance quality teaching, learning, research, and development), specialized digital equipment and facilities, as well as other necessary interventions that would help in strengthening the University's ICT and digital infrastructure. The VC pleaded with the Honourable Minister to use his good offices to assist the fledgling University and consider all his demands, especially as they were made on the very first day of the holy and blessed month of Ramadan in which Allah (SWT) also grant requests.
In his response, the Digital Minister who empathized with the Management on the challenges associated with the relocation of any University to its Permanent Site assured the Vice-Chancellor of his maximum support. "You have my 100% support, Mr. Vice-Chancellor," he echoed with an assuring smile.
The highly respected Fellow of the Nigerian and British Computer Societies said although the requests were coming at a time the Ministry had already completed some special interventions in tertiary institutions across the country, he would ensure to give priority and extend similar support to FUL. Professor Pantami assured the Vice-Chancellor that his team of experts would look at the Ministry's 2023 budget to look for how his demands could be accommodated.
Speaking further, the Minister stated that his team would liaise with other partners and agencies within the Ministry to see how best to assist the University in the shortest possible time. He promised that FUL would be given the needed attention due to its peculiar challenges and needs that deserve urgent attention. Click here to see more pictures of the visit
Watch a short clip of the visit here
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