Bauchi state Gov. Bala Mohammed (middle) Arc. Sonny Echono flanked by a delegation from Bauchi state

The Bauchi State Government has solicited support from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, for its state-owned institutions to train technical manpower in agriculture, oil and gas and other fields critical to national development.

Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, who made the appeal during a visit to TETFund Tuesday in Abuja, stressed the importance of human capital development in confronting challenges of underdevelopment, poverty, and unemployment.

Mohammed noted that the state requires support for its newly-established College of Education, Technical, as well as intervention on vocational training, where artisans: craftsmen, bricklayers and welders will be trained.

According to him, the college of education will train agricultural officers that will teach the people of the state how to farm, plant and raise productivity, adding that his government has provided infrastructure in the state university worth over N3 billion to ensure the institution has good roads, water and other amenities.

“We need a lot of assistance from you immediately to put our educational sector on the face of prosperity and growth? And we have really established the institutional framework, the policy thrust and the big political will to be able to leapfrog the area of education so that we can be producing our own human capital need and even export labour.

“We want to have technicians, some labour that is required in the field. In the agricultural field, we want people that will be teaching our farmers what to do in terms of what to do during farming season and so on. And so, we need your support because you did not know about the establishment of this new technical institution, but for our state university, our colleges of education and others you have done so much,” he said.

On exodus of health workers to other countries, the governor noted that if Nigerian doctors and teachers are needed abroad, the country should expand its training capacity for such manpower to be used locally and for the purpose of exporting them.

“Go by what they want and produce more and be exporting and getting repatriation of monies coming back not only to Bauchi, but to the states, and that’s why we’re repositioning our schools for nursing health technology and university to produce more doctors, since we are found to be competent.

“I think we should not be crying over spilled milk the more they need the more we should produce for our national need and their need and we need your support in that as well,” he said.

Mohammed thanked TETFund for its interventions in the state, stating that most of the infrastructure in its federal and state tertiary institutions were provided by the agency.

Speaking further on support for the state, he said, Bauchi is at the centre, at the gateway of all the geopolitical zones of the North and its institutions are overstretched.

“Our health centres are overstretched and again because of our geographical location, the environmental issues are not helping us. We have been bombarded by flooding and so on and so forth. And I know TETFund has become an octopus on recent everything that you will think of the human living of life, you are giving intervention.

“And so, it is our own wish to tell you that the growing demography is not favouring us and we want you to look at our situation and help us on all areas of intervention that you are doing,” he said.

Responding, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc Sonny Echono, lauded the state government’s effort to invest in the education, while pledging the fund’s support for the newly established college of education and efforts to train technical manpower.

Echono stressed the importance of the college as finding teachers on technical subject at the basic level is a challenge, adding that the teachers and technicians produced in the institution will not be only for Bauchi, but the entire region.

“So, quickly I’ll be advising my director to laisse with the Hon. Commissioner for higher education. We’ll do the formalities of enlistments if we can quickly get that done. So, we can begin to support that. I’ve also noted Your Excellency submissions on issues requests for high impact vocational training and also to address some of the environmental challenges that you face.

“So, we recognise as additional burden you face and issues around flooding. I’m pleased to let you know that Mr. president has approved our 2024 interventions and included in that are provisions for disaster recovery.

“We have also made provisions to carry out some completion on some critical abandoned projects and also to provide security infrastructure. A good number of which Bauchi State will be eligible for consideration.

“So, focusing on skills, supporting the very manpower base that we require to grow this economy to activate all our unexplored areas in our economy, particularly agriculture. We are very concerned that a country like the US only 5% of their population are engaged in agriculture, yet, they are able to feed not only themselves but export to the whole world. So, we know we don’t need 60% of our population engaged in agriculture,” he said.