President Mohammadu Buhari on Saturday said education remained the most potent weapon to reduce unemployment as well as social vices in the country.
Buhari, who stated this in Jos at the 31 & 32 combined convocation of the University of Jos, also said that education remained the key to addressing the nation’s challenges.
Represented by Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, the President said that Nigerians looked up to the academic community to use research and make their contributions to the nation’s drive for veritable knowledge of the economy which he said, is the trend in the 21st century.
“As a government, we are committed to giving education its pride of place.
“As it stands, education remains a potent weapon in our hands that can be used to change the narrative of unemployment, corruption and other forms of vices in our nation.
“Therefore, we place high premium on education by creating a wider access to higher education opportunities through improved funding and a more conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning.
“It is for this reason that we are expanding the funding sources for infrastructure in our tertiary institutions.
“Precisely, that is why the Federal Ministry of Works recently moved into university campuses to construct roads,” Buhari said.
The visitor added that some government agencies such as the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Central Bank of Nigeria had been providing key facilities as well as professorial chairs in the universities.
The President said that universities offered the best pathways toward breaking out of the shackles of ignorance, poverty, deprivation and despair.
He congratulated the graduands for their character and learning that qualified them to be awarded the degrees.
He urged them to use the knowledge they gained for the good of themselves, their communities and the nation.
Buhari lauded the university’s management for the massive turnaround of the institution’s fortunes.
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau in a goodwill message said that the state was proud to host the great citadel of learning.
Lalong said that the university had produced numerous graduates that were making significant contributions to the development of the nation and the world.
“This is evidenced by the fact that many of those who have run or are currently overseeing the affairs of Plateau and by extension Nigeria, have either passed through the University of Jos or have been touched by the products of this institution.
“We are also proud of the fact that the university stands tall in the area of ground breaking research that has produced solutions to many of the problems of the immediate community and the nation.
“One example we are really grateful for is the Anti-Snake Venom Vaccine recently developed by the African Centre of Excellence in Phyto-medicine Research Development of the University of Jos.
“The vaccine will assist us in curbing deaths resulting from snake bites,” he said.
The governor said that the state started its own University at Bokkos, and was making good use of products of the University of Jos.
According to him, the Plateau State University, Bokkos, is steadily making progress and introducing more courses because of the support and collaboration from the University of Jos.
“As a government, we place high priority on education particularly technical and entrepreneurial education which help in skills development.
“That is why we are establishing new technical schools and revamping old ones because we need to inculcate the training that is productive and not just based on certificates.
“Our legacy projects are also centred on making public schools not only available, but also learner-friendly.
“This is to maintain our steady rise in national performance in JAMB, WAEC, NECO and other examinations,” Lalong said.
He assured that Plateau Government would continue to support the University of Jos to ensure that it delivered on its mandate of spearheading teaching and research that addressed national challenges.