By Cecilia Ijuo
Prof. Aliyu Shugaba, the Vice Chancellor, University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), says the reduction in insurgent activities in Borno has made Maiduguri one of the most peaceful state capitals it was once known for.
The vice chancellor made this known when he led a delegation of the school management on a courtesy call on the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the busy activities that Maiduguri was once known for had returned, adding that even the university had recorded tremendous achievement with visitors thronging it for one engagement or the other.
Shugaba disclosed that in spite of the harrowing experience in the last 12 years, the university remained resilient.
He added that the institution remained open to academic activities in spite of the challenges, making it easy to bounce back to what it was known for.
“As a university, we have remained open.
“We have not closed for a single day and today, we thank God almighty that this whole thing has subsided and Maiduguri has opened up.
“I dare say now that if you want the most peaceful place in whole of this country then Maiduguri is one.
“Having realised this, we have started taking stock of those friends of ours who remained with us in the face of those difficult years,” he said.
The VC commended NAN for its balanced reportage of the university’s activities and that of the state in the peak of the insurgency.
“We are here to express our appreciation to the News Agency of Nigeria.
“As a university that has been bedevilled by 12 years of insurgency, we want to identify with those who have stood by it in all of these period to keep the university standing.
“Over the years that this madness started in Maiduguri and the entire North-East, NAN has been reporting the affairs and checking with us to come out with balanced news,” he said.
Shugaba solicited for the agency’s continued support while the university continued with its academic activities.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of NAN, Mr Buki Ponle, reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to ensuring the objective, balanced and credible reportage that it was known for within and outside the country.
While commiserating with those who lost loved ones and property to insurgency over the years, the managing director expressed satisfaction with the progress so far made in tackling insecurity in the area.
He expressed optimism that the university would continue to live its name as the Centre of Excellence in spite of all that had happened.
“I remember when I was in the university in 2006, when NAN had partnership with the university.
“I was coordinating some projects in partnership with UN on human trafficking and how to ensure that child labour reduced in the country.
“We worked to ensure that children are given a better place not only in Nigeria but all over the world.
“We took many stories of your breakthroughs in science particularly the successful kidney transplant then and we were always the first to break the news whenever such happened.’’
Ponle assured of the agency’s continued support for the university, particularly in the area of news reportage.
On activities of the agency, Ponle said NAN has offices spread across the 36 states of the federation as well as some foreign offices.
He also disclosed that the agency had reinvented itself over time to meet up with modern trend, particularly in the area of technology.
According to him, NAN has multimedia platforms that serve its different clients who cut across television, radio, newspaper and corporate organisations among others.
He assured that NAN would continue to explore avenues to maintain the credibility “that it is known for.”
“’We cannot afford to make mistakes because credibility is our strength and when you talk to NAN, you have talked to the whole world.” (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)