The University of Maiduguri would be producing 78 First Class graduates in the combined convocation ceremony for the the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 academic seasons.
They are among among the 17,895 persons to be awarded degrees and diplomas at the undergraduate, postgraduate, and diploma levels during the ceremonies.
This is according to the Vice Chancellor of the university, Ibrahim Njodi, who spoke at a press briefing to herald the 23rd edition of the ceremony holding this Saturday, 28th April.
Of the figure, 3,527 students were graduands of the Post Graduate School programmes comprising of 56 Ph.D graduates; 570 Masters Degree graduates and 2,901 Post Graduate Diploma graduands.
Statistics of the undergraduates showed that 8,643 graduands would be awarded degrees, 7,278 of the number were from the regular programmes, 573 from affiliated colleges and 714 were Distance Learning programmes.
Professor Njodi noted that despite the security challenges from the wake of the Boko Haram insurgency, the institution has never closed academic activities and has excelled in the past forty years as a centre of excellence.
EduCeleb.com recalls that the university had been hit by not less than five attacks in the last two years when the convocation ceremony did not hold. The most recent was a lone bomber attack on one of its hostel that affected only the bomber.
An attack by the insurgents on the university campus in January 2017 led to the death of four people, including an infant and a professor.
Researchers at the University’s Geology department who were kidnapped in July 2017 were released earlier in February. During their abduction, 69 people were killed.
Last year, the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at UNIMAID, Dani Mamman, said at least 70 lecturers had resigned from the university since 2009 owing to the Boko Haram insurgency.
The VC praised members of staff and students who committed to moving the university forward despite the insecurity challenges.
At the ceremonies, three distinguished academics would be conferred Emeritus
Professorship. The VC said that these persons have been with the institution for over 40 years contributing to its development and progress since it was nicknamed the North-East College of Art and Science.
They are Emeritus Professor Abdulhamid Abubakar, Emeritus Professor John Akinyili and Emeritus Professor Joseph Alumona.
According to the VC, their appointment was in recognition of their intellectual excellence, exemplary characters and dedication to service to the humanity and the university.
Njodi was worried that beyond monthly salaries paid by the Federal Government, the university needed more there are challenges of under funding of academic research and basic academic and infrastructural facilities and amenities on campus for students and lecturers.
He challenged government to urgently address these while stressing the need to increase facilities in the institution to accommodate more students.
In the area of admission, he emphasised the need to increase the annual admission quota of 9,000 to accommodate the high number of potential candidates or applicants that runs between 29,000 to 37,000 within the
catchment area of the university.
He revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari as the visitor to the institution, is expected at the convocation where he will be inaugurating the new ultra-modern N1.5 billion senate building.
EduCeleb.com also gathered that the governors of Yobe, Borno and Niger States were to play key roles at the ceremonies.
Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam will inaugurate the newly constructed Multi-purpose Lecture Theatre, while his Borno State counterpart, Kashim Shettima will inaugurate the newly constructed Veterinary Intra-Modern Centre.
That of Niger State, Sani Bello is expected to commission the newly constructed
Instructional Technology Entrepreneurship Complex.
Expected to preside over the ceremonies is the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, who doubles as the Chancellor of UNIMAID.
Njodi heaped praises on various organisations for their contributions to the development of the university. Particularly, he mentioned LNG, NNPC, USAIDS, TETFund and Indimi Foundation.
The press conference was attended by top management and staff of the University of Maiduguri.