Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, yesterday presented allocation letters to the Vice Chancellors of 12 universities for the take-off of their TETFund Centre of Excellence (TCOE).
Bogoro, while presenting the letters in Abuja at an event, charged the institutions on implementation of its own approved TCOE to address specific national development challenges by preparing professionals.
He also disclosed that the board would fund the centres with a grant of N1 billion each for five years to enable them attain national aspirations.
President Muhammadu Buhari in March approved the first set of TCOE to take up research in their respective regions for national development.
He said two universities were selected from each geopolitical zone of the country to bridge the gap between researchers and users, as well as stimulating and strengthening triple-helix relationships.
He listed the universities to include: in North Central, University of Abuja which would host TCOE in Public Governance and Leadership and University of Jos to host TCOE in Food Security.
North East has Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, to host TCOE in Food Security and University of Maiduguri will host TCOE in Arid Zone Research and Development.
He added that in North West, Usman Dan-Fodio University, Sokoto will host TCOE in Urology and Nephrology, while Bayero University, Kano will host TCOE in Renewable Energy.
Others are: South East, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike to host TCOE in Root Crop Research and Development and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka to host TCOE in Agricultural and Engineering Translational Studies.
Bogoro also named the University of Benin to host TCOE in Aquaculture and Food Technology, while University of Uyo will host TCOE in Computational Intelligence in South South region.
In the South West, the University of Ibadan to host TCOE in Multi-Disciplinary Studies and the University of Lagos on TCOE in Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Management.
According to him, the relevance of COEs for capacity building in developing countries cannot be overemphasised.
He said COEs were potent instruments for nation building as far as they have the potential to realise human resource development.
He said “The conceptual framework for Centres of Excellence is unlikely to be unfamiliar, alien or even novel to most of you here. Nevertheless, a Strategic Framework and Establishment Guidelines for TETFund Centres of Excellence, as approved by the TETFund Board of Trustees will be made available to all of you.
”Each selected institution is expected to implement its own approved TCOE, with the objective to address a specific national development challenge through preparation of professionals, applied research and associated outreach activities to partner, especially community services.
”Within that prism, institutions will have autonomy to implement their own institution-specific proposals to enhance capacity to deliver national high-quality training to address development challenges.”
He said the major objective of establishing the Centres was among others, to support strategic and applications-oriented research and expertise with potential industrial application.
Also, the chairman, TETFund Board of Trustees, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam said the fund’s BOT was committed to advancing the tertiary education in all ramifications.
Ibrahim-Iman promised that the fund would continue to sustain the process of research in the country, noting that an additional 12 universities would be established by 2021.
He said “We want you to invest at least 70 per cent of the research grant in safe and high-yielding financial investment.”
Responding on behalf of Vice-Chancellors of the benefiting universities, Prof. Lilian Salami, Vice Chancellor, University of Benin promised to live to expectations in delivering the task accorded to them.
Reps, NDA Commandant Parley Over Bandits’ Attack
The House of Representatives Committee on Defence, yesterday, met with the Commandant of the Nigeria Defence Academy, Maj-Gen Ibrahim Yusuf, on the bandit attack on the academy.
It would be recalled that the bandits had carried out an audacious attack against the foremost academy and abducted some military personnel at the institution.
Yusuf informed the committee that the military is working to prevent future occurrence of the attack.
The committee, chaired by Babajimi Benson from Lagos State, had an executive session with the commandant to get the details of the attack.
Also, the committee met with the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, to discuss the impact of the recent military agreement between Russia and Nigeria.
It would be recalled that Nigeria and Russia signed a defence agreement which was announced by the Nigerian Embassy in Russia.
The agreement, which is a technical agreement between the two countries, will involve sales of Russian made equipment to Nigeria.
The committee had the session behind closed doors.
Ember Months: FRSC Set To Inaugurate ‘Operation Show Of Readiness’
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), says it is set to inaugurate” Operation Show of Readiness’’ as part of efforts to reduce road traffic accidents during the 2021 ember months.
The Corps Public Education Officer (CPEO), Mr Bisi Kazeem told The Tide yesterday that the operation would involve massive sensitisation campaign ahead of the corps’ annual “Special Patrol’’.
Kazeem said that operation show of readiness followed the review of the FRSC’s 2020 ember months’ performance and the need to break new grounds.
“To achieve this, we have deployed public enlightenment teams to motor parks, Churches, Mosques, town hall meetings and we will use motorcade for awareness where possible.
“From the 2020 review, the corps realised that night travels are prevalent during this time (ember months) with overwhelming negative results.
“Speeding is also known to be responsible for over 60 per cent of crashes.
“As such, the corps will deploy energy to discourage people from indulging in these deadly road use behaviour (night travels and speeding),’’ he said.
Kazeem said that the corps would use Special Marshals, first responders, celebrities, traditional rulers and involve road safety clubs for the special operation in view of the COVID-19 travel advisory.
“Operation zero tolerance to road traffic crash carried out annually by the FRSC is also part of strategies to reduce crashes aside the maiden operation show of readiness,’’ he said
Kazeem said during the exercise, visual acuity test/screening for drivers would be conducted as well as free safety checks on vehicles.
VAT Bill Scales Second Reading At Ogun Assembly
A bill for a law to impose and charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on certain goods and services, provide for administration of the tax and for related purposes yesterday scaled second reading at Ogun State House of Assembly.
Clerk of the Assembly, Mr Deji Adeyemo, read the bill for the first time during plenary session in Abeokuta, while the Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sherif, moved the motion for the second reading which was seconded by Mr Ganiyu Oyedeji.
While opening debate on the bill, Mr Olakunle Sobukanla, the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, noted that the bill was an avenue for the state to generate more revenue for its development.
Sobukanla added that the more internally generated revenue by the state, the more infrastructure development in all sectors of the state.
In his submission, Oyedeji explained that collection of VAT would allow the state to generate more revenue and meet needs of the people.
The lawmaker stated that the people’s needs included fixing of bad roads and the construction of new ones, provision of healthcare facilities among others, which all required finance.
Other lawmakers who spoke supported the quick passage of the bill, saying that it would boost the socio-economic development of the state.
They noted that passage of the bill would be a financial restructuring and a form of redistribution of internally generated revenue.
In his response, Mr Olakunle Oluomo, the Speaker of the house, commended the lawmakers for the deliberation, adding that the VAT law was needed in the state for more economic development.
The speaker committed the bill to the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation for further legislative actions.
Also during yesterday plenary, the Ogun State Anti-Corruption Law 2021, scaled first reading.
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