18 July 2022 10:00 AM FUHSO campus, Otada Event

The popular adage ‘‘The Taste of Eating is in the Pudding’’ came to the fore when His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, officially performed the Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, FUHSO.

Mr. President, ably represented by the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu. The Minister and his entourage landed Och’Idoma square, Otukpo, in a Police Helicopter number 5N-LEH and were received by the Premier Vice-Chancellor of the first established Specialized Federal University of Health Sciences in Nigeria, Prof. Innocent Ujah, mni; the Pro-Chancellor – Prof Abdullahi Abba and management of FUHSO.

The august visitors were led to the palace of the paramount ruler of the Idoma nation, His Royal Majesty, HRM, John Odogbo Elaigwu, who showered encomiums on the representative of Mr. President, Mal. Adamu and blessed him.

Performing the ground breaking ceremony at its permanent site, Akwete-Akpa, Otukpo LGA of Benue State, Mr. President, thanked the University and host community for the warm reception vouchsafed him and his entourage. He was elated for the opportunity to perform the ground breaking ceremony of the first Federal Government-owned University of Health Sciences in Nigeria.

According to President Buhari, FUHSO was established to be a Centre of Excellence in medical education in the training of medical experts in healthcare delivery and cutting-edge research and innovation to close the yearning gaps in manpower for the health sector.

He averred that the vision was to equip and train high-level manpower in the medicine and allied health sciences that will reduce the current deficit in the number of Doctors and other allied health professionals in Nigeria, to curb medical tourism through the establishment of state-of-the-art health facilities in the country.

The President affirmed that the idea of FUHSO was conceived and approved on May 20, 2015 by the quondam Administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, stating that the initial hiccups encountered were aimed at ascertaining its sustainability.


He noted that on the assumption of office, he suspended its operations for wider policy measures to align human, material, and financial resources if restored. ‘‘I was convinced before approving the lifting of the suspension order and eventually restored the University on June 6, 2019, and we are committed and determined more than ever before to achieving the ideas of the institution’’, Buhari avowed.

Mr President who expressed readiness and continued support of the FG to encourage FUHSO so that the experiment of establishing the first specialized Federal University of Health Sciences was not misconstrued, revealed that FG has established two additional Federal University of Health Sciences in Azare, Bauchi, and Ila-orangun in Osun States respectively.

He reiterated that, he approved the #3 billion High Impact Intervention Fund through Tetfund for the University to further enhance its infrastructural facility. Buhari professed growth in the University’s proposed programmes which included Nursing, pharmacy, Biomedical Engineering, Dentistry, Nutrition, Water and Environmental Engineering et al.

The President who congratulated FUHSO for its fast academic performance, prudence, and as a Centre of Excellence, commended the institution on her Needs Assessment Project results, saying the University is poised to contribute hugely in research and innovation to addressing many health challenges in Nigeria.

While appreciating the Ministers of Education, Agriculture, and Water Resources as well as ES - NUC and Registrar - JAMB for aiding the University to have commenced its academic programmes within one year of operation and successful completion of the students’ second session. He re-echoed that the approved fund for the Administrative and Senate; College of Medicine buildings as well as the Principal Officers’ Quarters signaled a great future for the University and enjoined the contractors to be diligent and deliver within the stipulated period to enable the University relocates to its permanent site, soon.

Chairman of the ceremony, Prof. John Idoko, lifted Idoma sons and daughters; stakeholders and FG for their unflinching support which culminated in what is known today as FUHSO. The quondam Director General of the National Action Committee on Aids, NACA, hailed Mr. President for the honour done Benue South and Nigerians at large. Prof Idoko posited that the perfection of the ground breaking exercise showed better days ahead for the maiden University in Benue zone C.

Earlier, Vice-Chancellor of the University Prof. Ujah, poured encomiums on President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for approving the restoration of FUHSO, describing it as innumerable to the good people of Benue South. Compendiously, Prof explained that upon FUHSO restoration, Project Implementation Committee (PIC) was set up by the Federal Ministry of Education to identify the take-off, which the Youth Centre at Otada-Otukpo was approved and the rehabilitation and restructuring of the building commenced. He, however, said it was not until 12th May, 2020 that the Principal Officers and Council members of the University were appointed by the Federal Government. Effectively, FUHSO commenced its operation in May 2020, Ujah added.

The University Boss stated that the vision of the University is to be a world-class institution for learning, scientific research, and innovation for developing the next generation of healthcare providers while the mission is to build the capacity of healthcare professionals through integrated medical education, professional skills, and research providing access to high-quality health care services. The Core Values of FUHSO he said include Integrity, Transparency, Dedication, Accountability, Partnership, Innovation, and Equity (IT-DAPIE).

While giving a summary of the operation of the University since 2020, the Vice-Chancellor intimated that a study tour was undertaken to the first Medical University in Nigeria, The University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, Ondo State as well as Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti which is a model of modern Medical Colleges in Nigeria, he stated.

Prof Ujah further stressed that hard work was key to the success story of the University including the approval of the nine programmes of Medicine and Surgery, Computer Science, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Biostatistics, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Biology by the National Universities Commissions (NUC), saying the institution remain grateful to Professor Abubakar Rasheed, mni, the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC).

The health expert, continued that through dint of sedulous and commitment by management of the University, made the recruitment of both academic and non-academic staff; equipped Chemistry, Biology/Microbiology, Chemistry/Biochemistry laboratories, adding that FUHSO got enlisted on the JAMB portal and fully integrated into its Central Admission Processing System (CAPS), via committed support of the JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, he noted. This he said facilitated the first-year admission within one year of operation as a University. Conveying his joy, Prof Ujah pointed that students of about 200 in number had completed the first session following their 2nd-semester examinations and had gone on vacation.

Professor Ujah stated that through the support of TetFund, infrastructure was adequate to start with, with respect to office spaces, classrooms, lecture theaters, laboratories, furniture, etc. as well as facilities for co-curricular activities.

He noted that through TetFund, the University’s strengthening its Staff Development Policy and completing arrangements to send our young lecturers (Graduate Assistants and Assistant Lecturers) for further training, even as the VC emphatically stated that the institution’s determined to build the capacity of the workforce to attain the desired status of a world-class University.

These are possible because FUHSO is a beneficiary of the TetFund Intervention fund due to its impact on research outcomes as the reason FUHSO is featuring prominently in the contest for TetFund National Research Fund (NRF), while also benefiting from the Institutional Based Research of the Fund, the University Boss added.

The first Vice-Chancellor to be President of NMA at the same time, illuminated that it’s obvious, the Academics system within the short period of two years of existence, the University have demonstrated palpable evidence of focus, commitment, and determination in teaching, research, and community service.

He stated that FUHSO’s proposal was approved and awarded the Needs Assessment fund by the Federal Ministry of Education for the construction of a multi-purpose research complex which is currently under construction and expected to be completed and fully furnished in a few months, Ujah professed.

The CEO of FUHSO, avowed that via the University's compelling proposal, TetFund has designated FUHSO as a Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases for the study of Lassa Fever, Ebola, COVID-19, and other emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases, adding that the high-level advocacy embarked by management of the University is yielding expected outcomes.

He divulged that the institution’s engaging in partnership and collaborative efforts with other Institutions within Nigeria as well as some global institutions such as Emory University, Atlanta, and Northwestern University, Chicago all in USA, and expressed deep appreciation to the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom for ceding the General Hospital, Otukpo, as the take-off site for Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo for training clinical medical Students, in addition to providing specialist medical treatment and health research.

Professor Ujah maintained that the institution’s equally glad with the Committee of Vice-chancellors of Nigerian Universities’ Secretariat, which FUHSO’s developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Medical Mobility Programme (MMP) with some selected Universities in Egypt, he said.

The MOU, he averred, when signed, will include the training of Staff in the area of Basic Medical Sciences of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, strategically focusing on MBBS staff in compliance with the policy of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), as well as developing new approaches to Medical Education Curriculum (MEC).

He said that the ground breaking ceremony heralded the construction and furnishing of the Administrative and Senate, College of Medicine buildings, and Principal Officers’ quarters, expected to be completed within 18-24months, adding that the University shall commence movement to the permanent site before the end of 2023, he added.

The Professor of Obstetrician and Gynaecology, thanked President Mohammadu Buhari, GCFR , for the approval of the fund to the University and assured that the fund will be judiciously utilized.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, the University enjoyed cordial relationship with the immediate host communities of Otada, Akwete-Akpa and the entire Benue South Senatorial District, positing that FUHSO has remained peaceful and safe since inception and prayed for sustainability and improved upon for a conducive environment for Teaching, learning, and research.

While assuring His Excellency of the Council, management, staff, and students' commitment to building a world class University, the VC commended President Mohammed Buhari, GCFR, and his predecessor - Dr Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, as well as the erstwhile President of the Senate, Distinguished Senator David AB Mark, GCON.

Others include, the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; Hon. Minister, FME, Mal. Adamu Adamu; Hon. Minister, FMH, Dr Osagie Ehinare; immediate past PS Federal Ministry of Education and now ES TetFund, Arc. Sonny ST. Echono, fnia; Executive Secretary, NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, mni and Pro-chancellor and Chairman of Council, Professor Abdullahi Abba and the Council members.

He, also paid glowing tribute to Prof. Ochapa Onazi, OON and other members of Apa Education Foundation (AEF); Registrar and CEO, JAMB, Professor Ishaq Oloyede; immediate past Executive Secretary, TetFund, Prof. Elias Bogoro; Senator Patrick Abba Moro, Representing Benue South Senatorial District; Chief Innocent Audu Ogbe, former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development; Management and students of the University; the Press and above all, Almighty God and all those used by Him in the journey thus far.

Pro-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Abdullahi Abba, recounted the voyage so far which he conceded was not entirely without challenges. The Pro-chancellor noted the indefatigability of the University’s helmsman, Prof Ujah, and the management team for steering the rudder of FUHSO to her current status. Prof Abba, was enthused with optimism that the vision of the University in Churning out health professionals of global reckoning would be achieved, thus curbing medical tourism which had denied the country much-needed foreign exchange.

Erstwhile Senate President, Senator David Mark, GCON, ably represented by Mrs. Oowoo Ameh, commended the Vice-Chancellor, management, staff, and students for their patriotism to have a firm root for the University since its inception of two years and challenged the institution to do everything possible to produce world-class manpower in the health sector. Sen Mark expressed concern over the prolonged face-off between FG and ASUU. He described the bickering as most unfortunate and urged the government to evolve internal mechanisms through which industrial disputes could be resolved without needlessly shutting down the citadel of learning.

The Honourable Minister was later decorated with Idoma cultural regalia. The august visit and his team paid an unscheduled visit to the quondam Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Shamsudeen Amali, OFR, at his official residence in Upu in Otukpo LGA.

The ceremony was concluded with the commissioning of medical equipment at FUHSO temporary campus, Otada, amidst cultural display and jubilation from entertainment groups.



July 18, 2022.