By Ikechukwu Odu
NSUKKA —The Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, has lauded the Faculty of Arts of the University for rejuvenating the spirit of research and intellectualism in the university.
The Vice Chancellor said the recent upsurge in research papers with impact factors from the faculty has restored its pride of place as the only faculty with the ability to inform, entertain and interpret issues of humanity in such fashion that gives meaning to human existence.
The VC who was represented by his deputy (administration), Prof. Charles Igwe, made the statement during the facility’s Second Distinguished Lecture series, entitled ‘ Improving the Lives of Poor and Vulnerable Nigerians through the establishment of a Social Registry,’ at the Faculty of Arts Lecture Hall, UNN, Yesterday.
The VC said the reign of the current dean of the faculty, Prof. Nnanyelugo Okoro, has made a remarkable difference in the faculty just within 12 months on the saddle.
While delivering the lecture, the National Coordinator, National Social Safety-Net Coordinating Office, NASSCO, office of the Vice President, Apera Iorwakwagh, said the rising index of hunger and poverty in Nigeria is worrisome and needs urgent measures to save the nation from further decline.
He stated that consensus has emerged in the past two decades that economic growth is a necessary but insufficient condition for alleviating poverty, adding that additional elements such as the buildup of the asset base of the poor is needed to enable them participate in the growth process.
He equally advocated for short-term public transfers to protect and raise the consumption of the poorest households, stressing that spending on schemes such as the universal primary education that reach a wide swath of the society is needed to increase the knowledge base of the populace.
While stating that asset inequality is an aspect of poverty, he said there is need to work in collaboration with the academia who carryout researches in some of the indicators that continually plunge the nation into poverty in order to address the anomaly.
Iorwakwagh, who regretted that with a population of over 190 million people, Nigeria has the largest population of the poor in Africa and the 7th largest in the world, however said, Nigeria is responding to the poverty needs of the citizens through various social protection programmes which emerged in 2000s.
He listed some of the social protection programmes to include the N-power programme, the trademoni and other conditional cash transfers by the federal government, including other empowerment programmes, adding that the National Social Register, NSR, targets Nigeria’s poor and vulnerable population. He said the NSR is part of the government’s national social protection strategy focused on poverty eradication.
In his opening remarks, the dean of the faculty, Prof. Okoro, assured that more programmes geared towards promoting scholarship of staff and students’ welfare have been set rolling for a holistic academic rejuvenation.