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The Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Kabir Bala, on Saturday, urged the Federal Government to lift the embargo on employment so as to address the shortage of manpower in the institution.

Bala noted that the shortage of manpower in academic units is negatively impacting the excellence in teaching, research and community service.

This, he said, was as a result of government policies and embargo on employment.

The Vice Chancellor stated this during the institution’s 42nd convocation which held in Zaria, Kaduna State on Saturday.

“Therefore, we call on the FG to lift the embargo on recruitment for universities to address the widening gaps.

“ABU is facing challenges of financial sustainability since the aftermaths of the COVID-19; serious legal battles that affect its finances and other government policies that exert pressure on its financial standing,” he said.

Bala also called for greater collaboration between all stakeholders to fashion out more innovative ways of ensuring the smooth running of the university.

He said the university had recognised the importance of adopting long-term strategies towards attaining financial sustainability which included resuscitation of the endowment foundation among others.

The VC said a total of 35,758 candidates were for the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 sessions for conferment of first degrees, postgraduate diplomas, and higher degrees at the Diamond Jubilee Convocation.

He said of the 35,758 graduands, 8,842 bagged higher degrees, with 869 Ph. Ds; 60 M.Phils; 6,179 Masters; and 1,734 Postgraduate Diplomas.

He added that 26,916 would receive Bachelors Degrees out of which 273 had First Class, 5,647 Second Class Upper Division; 17,567 Second Class Lower Division, 2,899 Third Class Honours, 45 Pass degrees, and 485 unclassified degrees.

Earlier, the Chancellor, Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, had counselled the graduands to think creatively about how they could become self-employed rather than queuing up to join the labour market for monthly salaries.

According to the monarch, the 21st century is the age of digital and social revolution and technology has become the main access to all occupations, professions, and vocations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the limitless opportunities that now exist for brilliant men and women like you.

“I urge you to venture to seize these opportunities, conquer the world and make it a better place with innovative ideas and always be appreciative that your ABU education has provided you with the pedestal for self-fulfilment,” the monarch added.

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