By Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin
Vice Chancellor of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, Prof. Noah Yusuf, has said the recent killing of some farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State, by Boko Haram insurgents is a danger signal to food security in Nigeria.
Yusuf noted that the seemingly intractable farmers’/herders’ conflicts and flooding in some parts of the country could erode the gains the Federal Government had recorded in its agricultural policies.
The vice chancellor addressed reporters in Ilorin ahead of the university’s 10th convocation.
He said this year’s convocation would hold virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that Al-Hikmah would graduate 752 students.
Yusuf explained that out of the number, 18 students made First Class; 240 students got Second Class (Honours) in the Upper Division; 402 students scored Second Class (Honours) in the Lower Division and 91 made Third Class.
He said: “The issue of concern is the lingering danger of food insecurity in the country. While the Federal Government deserves commendation on its robust agricultural programmes leading to substantial reduction in food importation into the country, some recent developments in the country have been seen to be capable of eroding the gains achieved in agricultural production.
“These include the seemingly intractable farmers-herders conflicts, flooding in some parts of the country, insecurity caused by Boko Haram insurgency.
“The recent massacre of farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State, is a pointer to this looming danger. Al-Hikmah University has taken a giant step in this direction through its integrated agricultural farms programmes.”
Other issues of concern, according to the former Director of University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, include unemployment and absence of government’s support to private universities.
“Considering the key role played by private universities in the Nigerian educational system, the current absence of government support for private universities needs urgent reversal. It is important that government should come to the assistance of private universities by giving them grants to fund their researches and infrastructural development.
“The COVID-19 has succinctly demonstrated how much this is desirable for private universities to be able to continue to complement government’s efforts in the education sector,” he said.