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Unijos Launches Operation Beauty from ashes Click here for pictures of fire

Monday, 24 October 2016


Written by Professor Emeka Desmond Ozoji,
21st October, 2016

As we are all aware, on 8th October 2016, the multi million naira University of Jos Library edifice at the Naraguta campus was engulfed in an inferno that affected the floors housing the Library, Faculties of Social Sciences, Management Sciences,  lecturer offices as well as lecture halls. Only the ground floor was spared by the fire.
The Monday following the unfortunate incidence, the Vice Chancellor convened an emergency Senate at the end of which members formally visited the Library building to take on the spot assessment of the  extent of havoc wretched by the fire and  what rehabilitative measures can  be taken. The day was declared examination free to enable the University mourn the loss and to identify with staff and students whose everything in the building was lost for good.
The Governor of Plateau State Rt.Hon.  Simon  Bako Lalong and his cabinet also visited and commisserated with the University over the  inferno.
Two committees were set up at once first to unravel the immediate and proximate cause ( s ) of the fire and second to carry out  the  integrity and stability test of the building respectively. The reports of the two committee will expose fire security breaches in and around  the building and the extent of rehabilitation that will be  needed. These have cost implications and prevention of future occurrences of the ugly incidence.
Without wasting further time on trading blames and lamentation, the pro - active Management Team led by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Sebastien Seddi Maimako on October 20th 2016 launched what it called "BEAUTY FROM ASHES" initiative inside the Bauchi Road Campus Library. The Library was filled to capacity with concerned members of the University community including members of the press who thronged the place to witness the launch and perhaps decide how they  can  be part of the Library rehabilitation.
In his welcome address the University Librarian Dr.Steve Akintunde intimated the audience about plans to restore library services disrupted at the Naraguta campus Library. First, book shelves are to be made for the main Library to stock reading resources for the affected faculties. He appealed to all those who borrowed books,  journals etc from that Library to return them to the main Library. The affected staff and students are to avail themselves  of the reading resources in the main Library and that the university website can provide links to digital books / journals / and other reading resources. According to him, the fire should not disrupt library services and concluded that University of Jos Library would bounce back to its former status and glory within the shortest possible time.
The Vice Chancellor in his remarks said the BEAUTY FROM ASHES initiative was conceived and being launched to chat the way forward, to kick start funds and material resources raise for rehabilitating the burnt library, and to announce to the world that it has started the process of the Libray rehabilitation and people can lend them support to finish reconstructing,  refurbishing and equipping the  Library and offices.
Prof.  Maimako in a happy mood and tone announced  that the integrity and stability test result shows that minus one beam, all the others were in very solid state that can be used as they are. He directed that the library floor will no longer share it's space with lecture halls and  offices.
The Vice Chancellor suggested that the entire University at its different
levels shall synergize to contribute their "widows funds" towards the reconstructions. In his leadership by example action, the VC announced a collective donation of six million Naira from the six member management team.
Following from the VC 's donation, the Chairperson of Committee of Deans and Directors - Prof Lombin said she will convene an emergency meeting of the committee on 24th October to decide what to donate, optimistic that the amount will be sizeable.
The  Directorate of ICT through its Director Prof Ishaya Tanko appreciated
Management for the initiative and urged it to globalise the initiative for a global scale support.
The SANU chairperson, Mrs Ezema who doubled as the launch as chairperson Joint Action Committee  of the Unions in the university promised to convene a meeting of her Association to decide  what to donate. She also promised to mention the initiative as the Zonal and NEC meetings  of SANU hopeful that something reasonable will  come from the Association to support the University.
The Advancement office through its Executive Director - Yakubu Gomos fnipr said the office has already swung into action citing the visit to the VC by the  the Advancement Office Advisory Board as a fall out of its effort. He added that the Board will soon make its donation to the University known.
The University of Jos Alumni Association through its Public Relations Officer Professor E.D Ozoji emphatized with the VC and the University community, adding that the Association's NEC will hold an emergency meeting on 23rd October to decide what form it's support to the university will take.
The  Directorate of Non - NUC Funded Programs and the  Institute of Education through their respective Directors  - Profs Longbap and Mankilik announced volumes of  journals to be donated. They also promised to donate materials from their personal libraries and those of their respective professional associations.
The immediate past University Librarian Prof Ochai encouraged the University to take heart over the inferno and added that he is optimistic that Unijos will come back to assume it's pride of place among the best of the University Libraries in the country.
The only Directorate that backed it's promise with cash was the General Studies which gave a token donation of one hundred and twenty thousand naira, in addition to its journals.
The Vice Chancellor in his closing remarks thanked the University community for the solidarity demonstrated towards the initiative adding that "Unijos will be greater by the end of the day".
Prof Longbap gave the vote of thanks after which the VC flanked by some members of the Committee of Deans and Directors took a tour of the Library facilities. He asked the Librarian critical questions about fire extinguishers, water sources, emergency exit points. He advised that plywood demarcations should be replaced with red burnt bricks for better safety and protection of the Library.
The launch, by the above account, is a monumental success and I request the University community and it's Alumni  to join me in congratulating the Vice Chancellor for the foresight of the Beauty from Ashes Initiative.
Prof. E.D Ozoji
Public Relations Officer
University of Jos Alumni Association-

Emeka Desmond Ozoji, Ph.D, mnae, fnaec, fpattean
Professor of Special Needs Edudation
Department of Special Education & Rehabilitation Sciences,
University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria
Director Centre for Nomadic Education
PRO Unijos Alumni Association, &
Assistant Secretary Nigeria Academy of Education
Areas of Specialization - Attitudes in special needs education
                                      - Education of children with visual impairment
                                      - Teacher education

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