Africa’s foremost businessman and Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has made yet another critical intervention in the education sector with his donation of fully equipped 2,160 hostel complex to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, at the weekend.
The students’ halls of residence, comprising of 10 blocks of 360 rooms, built at N1.2 billion is coming after similar gestures to Bayero University, Kano and University of Ibadan, where the business mogul donated multi-billion naira business school complexes, respectively, 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 management reciprocated the act of philanthropy by conferring on him and the renowned Labour leader, Hassan Sunmonu, honourary doctorate degree. Also 15,787 graduating students were also awarded various degrees.
The president of Dangote Group, on the occasion, explained that he was moved to build the structure, having realised that the student population aint the universities have grown significantly; 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. Thus, I will like to seize this opportunity to enjoin the Federal Government to consider allocating special funds to the universities, to enable them improve on research and upgrade their infrastructure. Such special intervention has become imperative, given the perennial funding challenges facing our universities,” said Dangote.
He posited that the federal government, alone, cannot shoulder the 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,” he said and enjoined the private sector to adopt a new approach towards supporting the federal government in tackling the funding deficit in the higher institutions of learning.
Earlier, the vice chancellor, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, appreciated Dangote for the “gigantic intervention” and appealed to other wealthy individuals to generously emulate his good spirit.