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The Chadian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Mahmat-Habib Doutoum, has appealed for an increase in the number of Chadian students being admitted into the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The ambassador who made the appeal during a working visit to the university disclosed that a large percentage of professionals in his country were graduates of ABU.

There are presently over two hundred Chadian students studying in various programmes in the ABU. But while making a case for an increase in the admission quota, he also pleaded for reduction in tuition fees paid by the students in the university, stressing that most of the students were from very poor backgrounds.

The Ambassador who was addressing the Vice Chancellor of the university during a courtesy call said his country will ever remain grateful to the ABU. He said that with the discovery of oil in Chad, his country has found it increasingly necessary to send students to Nigerian Universities, particularly the ABU to study. A number of the oil companies are American, British and Chinese.

In his response, the VC of ABU, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha assured the ambassador of his willingness to continue in the footsteps of his predecessors by making ABU the first choice university of all students in Chad.

He however regretted that allocation of admission quotas by the National Universities Commission (NUC) has placed the universities in very tight corners. ABU has an admission quota of 6,060 from the commission.

The VC pointed out that a total of 70,000 candidates chose ABU as first choice this year adding that out of 9,000 candidates that applied to read Medicine as first choice, the university was only able to admit 120. He said he has been making frantic efforts at the NUC to see that this figure is jerked up to 150.

With regards to the ambassador's request for a reduction in tuition fees paid by Chadian students, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha said he would table the matter before the university's Governing Council.

In a related development, Aberdeen University, U.K. and ABU are fine-tuning arrangement to establish linkages in the area of reproductive health. The collaboration is being facilitated by the MacArthur Foundation.

A team of experts from the University of Aberdeen were at ABU last Tuesday to mop up arrangements. The focus will be on ABU's Masters in Public Health Programme (MPH) through the introduction of such courses as maternal and child health, epidemiology, health planning and monitoring. The collaboration will also explore distance learning and collaborative research.

Head of the team, Julia Bussien along with Debbi Marais and Brendan Dineen, all from the University of Aberdeen, described this partnership as a very rewarding one. She said the role of her team is to understand the ABU's Vision and what best that is required from the collaboration in terms of the university's stated vision.

Earlier, the VC, Professor Mustapha who was represented by the DVC (Admin.) Professor Idris Isah Funtua said ABU was eager to see to the take-off of the collaboration. He therefore urged the ABU team to speed up the proposal adding that this was a major test for the University by the Mac Arthur Foundation.

But in another development, the National Association of Professional Secretariat Staff of Nigeria (NAPSSON) has presented an award to the Institute of Agricultural Research ABU for her contribution towards the development and advancements of secretarial profession in the Institute.

The university's Branch President of NAPSSON, Mr. Abraham Ndake Nmodu, who had earlier collected the award at the recent conference in Ilorin on behalf the Institute, told the Director that the award was in recognition of the Institute's numerous contributions to the secretarial profession, among them sponsorship of NAPSSON members to most national and local workshops, sponsorship of refresher training for NAPSSON members in the Institute, sponsorship and organization of in-house seminars for the Institute's secretaries. The others are, prompt payments of any approved allowances, creation of friendly and conducive environment for members of the association to operate, dynamic style of management, and involvement of NAPSSON members in some decision making.