Dr. Kole Shettima, Director of MacArthur Foundation Africa, has announced a financial grant worth $15 million to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. This funding is intended to bolster educational and research initiatives for the advancement of national development. The disclosure was made during the presentation of ABU’s Diamond Jubilee Public Lecture on “the Challenges of Quality Higher Education in Africa.”
Dr. Shettima expressed the foundation’s enthusiasm for its interventions at ABU Zaria, highlighting key areas of support such as the installation of fiber optics and the interconnection of the ABU Teaching Hospital in Shika with the Samaru and Kongo campuses. Additionally, the foundation has provided support for 67 PhD and 87 Master’s students, among other interventions.
While emphasizing the importance of increased funding and transparency in Nigeria’s higher education sector, Dr. Shettima underscored the need for accountability to enhance efficiency and address challenges in the sector.
Dr. Shettima urged the government and other stakeholders to prioritize funding and transparency in the higher education sector in Nigeria to ensure efficiency and combat challenges facing the sector.
In recognition of the enduring relationship between MacArthur Foundation and ABU, Prof. Kabiru Bala, Vice-Chancellor of ABU, acknowledged the foundation’s unparalleled support, emphasizing that no other individual, local, or international organization has provided support to ABU on the scale of MacArthur Foundation. Prof. Bala highlighted specific areas of support, including ICT infrastructure, digitization, automation of libraries, and the establishment of various centers such as the Center for Development Communication, Rural Finance, Veterinary Public Health, and Reproductive Health.
Noting the delayed celebration of ABU’s Diamond Jubilee due to an ASUU strike, Prof. Bala expressed gratitude for the ongoing support, stating that ABU, established in 1962, remains a national asset that requires collective efforts to overcome its challenges.
Addressing the occasion, Alhaji Munir Ja’afaru, Chairman of the Occasion, emphasized the necessity for the government to prioritize funding for tertiary education in Nigeria, emphasizing that education is the bedrock of national development. He called for a collective responsibility to ensure that tertiary institutions have the essential resources to thrive and urged ABU alumni to unite in supporting the institution, emphasizing its status as a national asset that must be safeguarded from potential collapse.