In 1993, Madonna University was first established in Okija, Anambra State following the approval of the state government. The university was later asked to suspend its operations by the Federal Government because there was no Federal law approving the establishment of private universities in Nigeria by then. The law was eventually passed and the university was re-established in 1999 by following the necessary legal framework. This, however, placed Madonna, head and shoulders above its contemporaries as the first private university in Nigeria, and the first Ecclesiastical Catholic University to be established in West Africa. Science Writer, STANLEY CHIBUIHEM AMALAHA, in an interview with Prof Chuks Emmanuel Ezedum, Vice Chancellor of the university, reports
A visit to Elele town in Rivers State Nigeria, without visiting Madonna University Campus, is like travelling to the city of New York, without having a glimpse of the famous Statue of Liberty.
The university situated contiguously in Elele, on the right hand side along Owerri – Port Harcourt Expressway, was earlier established in 1993 in Okija Anambra State.
The military rule by then thwarted the whole structural framework as the idea of the Founder, Rev Fr. Prof Edeh, to establish a university with a difference, was totally incomprehensible to the regime. In 1999, the university was re-established as the first private university in Nigeria and the First ecclesiastical Catholic University to be established in West Africa simultaneously. The architectural masterpiece of the university’s main gate in Elele, designed in the form of letter ‘M’, depicts the initial of the university’s name – Madonna.
“The word ‘Madonna’, is Spanish for ‘Mother’. But in the Catholic ecumenism, it means ‘Mother of our Savour’. CHANCELLOR / FOUNDER Taking a leaf from America’s Neil Armstrong’s iconic speech on his lunar landing (July 1969): “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
Thus, the establishment of Madonna University, is indeed one small step for Rev. Fr. Edeh and one giant leap for West Africa ,because it is the first Ecclesiastical Catholic University in in the sub-region approved by the Catholic Pontiff. Rev. Fr. Edeh’s footprints on the sands of time by establishing Madonna University; Caritas University, Enugu; Osisatech Polytechnic, Enugu, established in 1989 as the first private polytechnic in Nigeria; and Osisatech College of Education also in Enugu, are crystal clear indications that the quintessential clergyman and aficionado of qualitative education has been pioneering academic excellence in tertiary institutions in Nigeria probably, more than any Nigerian man or woman, living or dead.
WHY MADONNA UNIVERSITY?
“In order to restore that level of goodness that God intended originally in man, Rev, Fr. Edeh established Madonna University – a university with a difference” says the Vice Chancellor, Prof Emmanuel Ezedum. WHY ACROSS BORDERS?
“When we discovered that Okija campus could not contain our vision for the university, we decided to come to Elele, Rivers State, which is where Rev. Fr. Edeh, the Founder, was posted as a Catholic Priest when he came back from the United States. Following popular demand by all who had tasted the difference made by the campus in Okija,the university was established in Elele as the main campus. Similarly, in order to give the university a serenity it requires, the Faculty of Engineering & Technology was further established in Akpugo, Enugu State precisely.
Today, Elele Campus of this University has five Faculties namely: Medicine, Basic Medical Science, Pharmacy, and Science. Okija Campus also has five faculties namely: Law, Education, Arts, Management science, and Social Science; while Akpugo Campus has one Faculty- Engineering / Technology with Seven Departments namely: Chemical, Computer, Civil, Mechanical, Petroleum, Electrical & Electronics; and Food Science & Technology. With these, Madonna University is the only private university in Nigeria that cuts across borders comprising two geopolitical regions and three states in Nigeria.
Professor Chuks Emmanuel Ezedum, Vice Chancellor, Madonna University Nigeria, with its main campus in Elele, Rivers State, oversees the activities of the whole university from the main campus to other campuses in Okija Anambra State and Akpugo Enugu State.
“At the moment (March 2017), Modonna University is one of the few universities in Nigeria that can boast of not having non-accredited programmes. Among the 39 programmes being run in this university, 35 are fully accredited, while the remaining four, are enjoying interim accreditation status by the National Universities Commission (NUC). We also enjoy Board accreditations from COREN, Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria, just to mention but a few,” says the Vice Chancellor.
SCHOLARSHIPS / LINKAGES
“We have Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with six universities in the Philippines, Two in USA, two in the U n i t e d Kingdom, and two in Africa. Over 200 students whose parents were dislodged by the Boko Haram insurgency in North – Eastern Nigeria, are currently enjoying Madonna University Charity Peace Award Scholarship. In 2015, Madonna University donated $100,000 to UNICEF Nigeria, to help the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North – East. Similarly, any parent that has more than three wards studying in this university, automatically has full scholarship for the fourth sudent,” the Vice Chancellor said.
LAURELS / ACHIEVEMENTS
“Our students have been winning many national and international awards. For example, recently Mr. Inyaba Kerry G. Akachukwu, our 500-Level Optometry Student won the 2016 Mr. University Africa – Nigeria Award, held in Lagos. He emerged first by beating 32 contestants from different universities in Africa,” says the don.
UNIVERSITY WITH A DIFFERENCE
University with a difference has been the slogan of Madonna University since inception because that has been the philosophy and zeal of the Founder. Some qualities that make Madonna, a University with a difference include but not limited to the following:
•The university is open for all irrespective of religion, denomination, race, tribe, sex, creed and nationality, where students are given freedom of worship and expression
•Madonna loves the poor because its fees are about the cheapest among private universities in Nigeria where most of our undergraduate programmes cost less than N300,000 per annum
•The university is a family as all students reside on campus for proper mentoring.
•Equal attention are paid to academics and morals
•The university is free from strikes and other students’ philistinisms.
Residents to IGP: We’re no longer safe in Abuja
In recent months, the Federal Capital Territory has witnessed an upsurge in crime, a situation that has attracted the attention of the security agencies. EMMANUEL ONANI reports
The Nigeria Police is the lead agency in crime fighting and prevention. As a matter of fact, the Police’s vision had been: “To make Nigeria safer and more secure for economic development and growth; to create a safe and secure environment for everyone living in Nigeria”.
How much of this vision has been cascaded to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command, within the context of fighting crime and criminality within and around the city?
A cross section of residents of the FCT, who spoke with Inside Abuja, showed “loss of confidence” in the crime-fighting capacity of the Police, in the face of prevailing realities.
In separate encounters, the consensus was that: criminal elements in the mould of armed robbers, car-snatchers, ‘one chance’, ritualists among other violent characters, now violate the city’s otherwise impregnable sanctity with audacious impunity.
The case of two female lawyers
Two female lawyers were the first to tell their distasteful tales of woes occasioned by the state of insecurity in the FCT.
Barrister Paulyn (surname withheld) said: “I was done for the day and since I didn’t drive, I stopped at Area 11 junction (by Total Filling Station), to board a vehicle to Masaka.
“About twenty minutes after, a Golf car with just a male occupant pulled over, with echo of ‘Masaka Masaka’.
“I boarded, and shortly after take-off, the supposed ‘passenger’ brought out a knife that shone like a spotless glass, and threatened to kill me if I dared to scream.
“Throughout the period they drove me to their den, there was no single policeman on the road, at least to boost my courage, to scream for help.
“My brother, I was lucky that they only took my expensive phone and all the cash I had in my bag.”
Another female lawyer, who gave her name simply as Beauty, narrated her ordeal thus: “I had a matter at Zone 2 Magistrate Court last week and like other learned colleagues, I parked my car around the court’s vicinity and went in.
“Within a space of an hour, I got back to find that my handbag, which I had hidden in the car, had been stolen with other valuable items.
“Please, help tell the police to wake up to the sorry state of security in Abuja.”
How we got robbed around minister’s hill (Anonymous):
Another victim of armed robbery, who chose to remain anonymous for fear of the unknown, said: “We were returning home through the single end of the Kubwa – Abuja expressway, when our car showed a sign of malfunction.
“We stopped to check and like a bolt from the blue, some thieves numbering about four, emerged from one of the known forests there, and dispossessed us of all valuable items. We were lucky to return home alive.”
Inside Abuja was told how a man, who parked his car within the Diamond area (Wuse 11), returned to find, that “his car had been burgled, and an i-pad and other items stolen.
The reports are endless! Another ugly story was told of how a couple riding in a sports utility vehicle (SUV) to Games Village, had the side glass shattered with a metal, while waiting to be passed at the traffic light junction.
Just when you thought it was abating, came this one from CITEC Estate, where a resident complained of an attack on his way back home.
“My brother, these boys hit and collected everything I had on me without help from any policeman”, a visibly angry victim said.
Hear another victim: “I parked my car about 300 metres away from Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Maitama.
“Guess what I saw barely 30 minutes after? They had taken down the glass of my car, and bolted with my laptop and other expensive items.”
About a week ago, the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Command, Mr. Sadiq Bello, had made public the discovery of an illegal arms factory somewhere in Zuba.
In the face of the growing disruptions, however, the Police had sued for collaboration, with a view to fighting crimes, especially incidents of car theft.
“As a result of the seeming rise in cases of theft of motor vehicles within FCT, especially the ones that are easily removed from where parked, the FCT Police Command is poised to take necessary action to stem the tide of the menace.
“The Command is going to embark on vigorous stop and search along the highways as such members of the public are hereby advised to always have proof of ownership of their cars in their possession to avoid embarrassment”, the Command had said in a statement.
In the wake of the discovery of the illegal arms factory, the CP had, while addressing some journalists, said: “Following intelligence and discreet Police investigation, operatives of the Command have uncovered an illegal firearm fabricating factory located around Shenagu village near Zuba.
“During a raid on the factory, three suspects were arrested. They include the owner of the factory, Philip John, the supplier of ammunitions, Mr Onyegabueze Okpara and the distributor of the arms, one Joseph Bulus”.
Unn pharmacy building for commissioning
The new three-storey building of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, will be commissioned soon. Science writer, STANLEY CHIBUIHEM AMALAHA, in an interview with Prof. Godswill C. Onunkwo, Dean of the Faculty, reports
All is set for the commissioning of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences’s new three-storey building at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The building, built by TETFUND, will accommodate seven department s of the faculty: According to Prof. Godswill C. Onukwo, Dean of the faculty, “The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences started in 1967 as the Department of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Science. Because of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) ,the department did not function actively until 1970.
It was elevated to the status of faculty in 1980, originally with four departments.
At present, the faculty has seven departments namely: Pharmaceutics with Dr. Paul Akpa as the Head; Microbiology/Biotechnology, with Prof. Emma Ibezim as the Head; Pharmaceutical Technology & Industrial Pharmacy, with Prof. Sabinus Ofoefule as the Head.
Others include ; Pharmaceutical Chemistry, headed by Prof. Mrs. Ngozi Nwodo; Pharmacology & Toxicology, by Dr. Mrs. Adaobi Ezike; Pharmacognosy, Prof. Mrs. Stella Inyi-Agha; and Clinical Pharmacy with Dr. Chukwuemeka Ubaka as the Head”.
Prof. Onunkwo further expressed delight with TETFUND and the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba for the successful construction of the gigantic three-storey building.
Physics Writers Series Creation produces university physics textbooks
Stories Stanley Chibuihem Amalaha
Eggheads from different Nigerian universities under the umbrella titled: Physics writers Series Creation, have produced array of textbooks in physics for Nigerian students. According to Prof. P.N. Okeke, a world renowned Physicist and president of the association, who initiated the project: “Physics Writers Series Creation is a compendium of seasoned physics lecturers from 20 universities in the South East and South South Nigeria. These lecturers decided to collaborate in the writing and production of different physics textbooks for Nigerian students. The aim is to make physics books easily accessible to our students and to reduce high cost of importation of foreign physics textbooks. It also serves as an academic training for physics lecturers in Nigerian universities because we use local examples in our environment as example in the illustrations in the book for more comprehension for students.
Prof. Okeke further highlighted on the books.
“Some of the textbooks we have produced include; Practical Physics texts; Mechanics/Properties of Matter/Thermal Physics; Electromagnetism/ Modern Physics/ Waves & Optics. These three books cover the syllabus for first year science/engineering courses in Nigerian universities which will help to equip our students in their fields of endevour. Other textbooks we have successfully produced for physics Majors includes: Introduction to Space Science, Special theory of relativity etc.
Prof. P.N. Okeke is a Professor Emeritus of physics & astronomy. He is the best author of physics textbook in West Africa who makes Physics easy and enjoyable in both secondary and tertiary levels.
He is the first African author of astronomy and space science textbooks. The first Director of NASRDA Centre for Basic Science in Nigeria. The first president of African Astronomical Society. He is a world figure with many international collaborations and discoveries.
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