The Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Lillian Salami, on Thursday said the institution has so far produced no fewer than 350, 000 graduates since its inception in 1970.
Salami disclosed this during an interactive session with newsmen in Benin ahead of its founders’ day anniversary on Monday, November 23.
She said that UNIBEN came into existence in 1970 when it was Bendel Institute of Technology, adding that the Federal Government took over the institution in 1971 and it became UNIBEN in 1973.
“At that time, the pioneer foundation and vision was initially for manpower and technological development.
“Ab initio, the number of students was only 108 with a staff strength of less than 20 then.
“But today, we have grown. Still counting, we have over 45,000 students and staff strength of over 8,000.
“Then, the programme was just to meet the manpower and technological demands for the country.
“There were two departments at that time. What we have now is over 15 faculties, a College of Medicine, three Centres of Excellence and two or three institutions.
“So, in terms of the growth of the university, we have grown up to about 200 to 300 per cent from where we started.
“The university has produced over 350,000 graduates. These individuals, incidentally, are well placed.
“A lot of them are CEOs of big establishments, trail blazers. We have had ministers, governors, and others,” Salami said.
“I am the 10th Vice Chancellor of this institution. We worked tirelessly in trying to achieve the mission and vision of the university,” she said.
Speaking further on her achievements in office in the past one year, Salami said that she had improved on infrastructure and conducted training programmes for marketable graduates
“In the past 12 months when I came into office, COVID-19 has kept us indoors. In spite of that, this administration has continued to work on the pillars.
“We have changed and developed infrastructure on ground in collaboration with different bodies and enterprises.
“We have tried to create a very strong alumni association because we believe that most ivory towers that are found around the world are actually driven by initiative.
“The University of Benin is taking a yearning and amiable look. The reasons for this is that we have been synergising with our Alumni that has been very generous to us.
“The resources have been very low. Payments by students account for 90 per cent of our IGR. So, what we have been doing is self help.
“We have refused to give out contracts because we cannot afford contracts now; so we have embarked on the use of direct labour to drive the system.