IT IS exhilarating to observe that Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) is living up to billings of the one of the Nigeria’s intellectual giant who was also a political legend and first president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Owelle of Onitsha, whose name was used in naming the citadel of learning.
The university by its phenomenal growth in departments and related establishments that align it with the crucial needs of the society for the overall socio-economic growth and developments is rising higher and higher in the reckoning among the universities in Nigeria.
To make the products to have a global outlook, the university established Chinese language to enable the students widen their horizon in world affairs which would give them opportunity for higher studies outside the shores of the country and employment opportunities.
Recently, the university thought it fit to float programme on migration studies. According to the university authority, “the issue of migration which involves more or less permanent movement of individuals or groups across symbolic or political boundaries into new residential areas or communities illegally or legally has continued to dominate public discourse locally and globally.
“Identifying migration as an increasingly important factor in the economic and socio-political policies of government, the Nnamdi Azikiwe University established a Centre for Migration Studies (CMS) which is the first in the country in a bid to responding through the academic lens to the local and global challenges and potentials thrown up by migration”.
The centre recently in Abuja, formally presented her MS.c. degree programmes for migration studies to stakeholders of Nigerian Migration Management and Governance. Declaring the presentation open, the executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed,
who was represented by the immediate former Vice-Chancellor of UNIZIK, Professor Joseph Ahaneku [FAS], described the issue of migration “as one that has continued to generate concern globally and locally”. He commended the university for taking the bold step in developing framework for the CMS.
In his remarks, Professor Rasheed urged stakeholders in the Migration Management to identify ways to partner with the university, maintaining that “the core essence of institutions of learning such as UNIZIK is identifying solutions to problems bedeviling the society”.
In his remarks, the vice-chancellor of the university, Professor Charles Esimone, [FAS] averred that “migration is a world-wide phenomenon and could be triggered by social, economic and political factors or a combination of these”.
Esimone, who was represented by Professor Ahaneku, noted that “most countries of the world are caught in its matrix as home, transit or destination countries, throwing up many challenges, particularly the need to improve and protect the rights of vulnerable migrants”.
He disclosed that “in the light of these migration concerns, the university deemed it pertinent to establish CMS to respond to these concerns from the academic angle”.
The VC commended the contributions of persons and institutions that are supporting the development of the centre and solicited more collaboration and support from stakeholders through scholarships for candidates interested in undertaking postgraduate studies in migration studies in the centre, sponsorships for other projects and programs of the centre as well as facilitating exchanges with foreign universities and centres to make the programmes of the centre internationally competitive.
Presenting the programmes to the stakeholders, the director of the centre, Professor Harris Odimegwu disclosed the aim of the centre as “providing knowledge-based foundation and framework for understanding management and governance of migration in Nigeria and the world at large”.
He listed the Master’s degree programmes to include “Master of Arts in Migration Studies (MA), Master of Science in Migration Studies (MSc)A and Master of Migration Studies (MMS)”, adding that the MA and M.Sc. are academic degrees for those who desire to proceed to PhD. in Migration Studies whose duration is 18 months while the MMS is a professional degree for policy makers and implementators, civil society actors and other operators in the field of migration.
“The CMS-NAU executive degrees are designed to serve the theoretical, practical and certification demands of academics, policy makers and implementers and actors in the field of migrations.
“At CMS-NAU, we strategically carry out quality research, teach our students using technology tools and use all medium available to use to preach on regular migration. CMS-NAU was born in collaboration and has grown in collaboration.
Currently, the centre is at various levels of development of collaboration with the following organisations and agencies: National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI); Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS); Civil Society Organization Network on Migration and Development (CSOnetMADE);
International Organization for Migration (IOM); National Population Commission (NPopC); Pan-African Collaboration for Excellence (PACE), University of Alberta, Canada; The GIZ, Program Migration for Development (PMD); The Embassy of Switzerland, Abuja”.
Continuing, he revealed that “our highly motivated team of professors drawn from over nine faculties and universities across four continents, experienced technocrats and migration field experts is enthusiastic to make your learning experience at CMS-NAU productive.
“The teaching methodology and learning platforms are holistically student-centred, conversational and anchored on flexibility to provide for the busy schedules of chief executives and professionals. The delivery and learning platforms are super-dynamic and interactive with a focus on your career challenges and professional excellence”, he explained.
Present at the occasion include the Ambassador of Switzerland, H. E, Georg Steiner; the Comptroller General, Nigerian Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, who was represented by N. E Braham; Rev. Fr. Dr. Emeka Obiezu from CSOnetMADE; the IOM Chief of Mission, Mr. Celestine Frantz represented by Mr. Henry Akwitti and the Honourable Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs represented by Mr. Charles Nwanelo.
Others include the Minister, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq; Minister of Labour and Productivity, Sen. Dr. Chris Ngige, represented by Dr. Sunday Onazi; the Head of European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Eleni Zerzehidou; Dr. Austin Ezejiofor from GIZ German office for Migration and Development; the Director General of NAPTIP, represented by Ayeni Olalekan Yusuf; Abike Dabiri-Erewa, represented by Mrs. Oluwatoyin Adeosu, among others.