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Africa’s industrial giant and Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), Alhaji Aliko Dangote has put paid to his critical intervention in the educational sector by building and donating a fully equipped 2,160 bed space hostel complex to the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria weekend.
The hostel, comprising of 10 blocks of 360 rooms was built at a total sum of N1.2billion few months after delivering similar feat at the Bayero University, Kano.
Business Hilights recalls that ADF had earlier delivered a purpose-built Business School complex at the University of Ibadan as part of his contribution to the educational development in the country.
The new students’ hall of residence was commissioned to commemorate the 41st convocation of the University during which the university authorities reciprocated the act of philanthropy by conferring on him and the renowned labour leader, Hassan Sumonu, honourary Doctorate Degree as about 15,787 graduating students were also awarded various degrees.
In his remarks, President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote explained that he was moved to build the structure having realized that the student population at the universities have recorded significant increase without a corresponding growth in terms of infrastructure lamenting that the situation has remained a subsisting and growing major challenge as Nigerian public universities continue to grapple with under funding.
According to him, “Thus, I will like to use this opportunity to enjoin the Federal Government to consider allocating special funds to the universities to enable them to improve on research and upgrade their infrastructure. Such special intervention has become imperative given the perennial funding challenges facing our universities”, he stated.
He further averred that the Federal Government alone could not shoulder the entire burden of funding tertiary education due to competing needs of other sectors that also demand priority attention. This is where Public Private Partnership (PPP) can and should come in to fill the gap.
Continuing, Dangote added that “I strongly believe the private sector must go beyond just the payment of the 2% Education levy and be ready to join hands with the State and Federal Governments in expanded funding for tertiary education in Nigeria. This will ensure that our institutions of higher learning are positioned to produce graduates who can transform this nation.
“If there are two things that I am passionate about, they are education and entrepreneurship. I believe they go hand in hand. Some years ago, as Chairman of the National Committee on Job Creation, my committee strived to fashion out strategies for integrating entrepreneurship into our national educational curriculum, in line with what obtains in the Western world.
Dangote described ABU as “an institution famed for its incredibly thorough academic tradition, the quality of faculty, and the enriching experiences of life within its walls. Today, the university has lived to its billing as a melting pot for ideologies by honouring a renowned socialist and champion of employees’ rights, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu and Myself, for being a leading capitalist and investor in employment generating enterprises.”
“It is also with a deep sense of fulfilment that today’s occasion is also being used for the commissioning of 10 blocks of student hostels which consists of 360 fully equipped rooms with capacity for housing 2160 students, built at a cost of N1.2 billion donated by the Aliko Dangote Foundation to Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU) Zaria.
“Our intervention is designed to lessen the plight of students who suffer acute accommodation challenges within the campus. We have brought similar intervention to University of Ibadan (UI) and Bayero University Kano (BUK) amongst other institutions”, Alhaji Dangote stated.
While commending him, Governor Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State who officially opened the hostel said Mr. Dangote’s philanthropic spirit should be emulated by others who have been blessed by God.
Elated Governor, who is an alumnus of the University, said both government and the private sector can partner to lift the educational sector in Nigeria pointing out that if not for the efforts of the university management, the institution was already dying.
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