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When Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) was established twenty-five years ago (1962), it was decided to give particular attention to Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. Therefore, in 1964 the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was established at ABU following the signing of an agreement between the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Kansas State University (KSU). According to this agreement, KSU/USAID was to provide initial staff and equipment to the new faculty to enable it develop the following:
(1) a well-equipped veterinary school to supply veterinarians for Nigeria and the rest of West African countries;
(2) a postgraduate training programme in Veterinary Medicine;
(3) a research programme to improve animal health, production and public health in Nigeria;
(4) train Nigerians to staff and assume major roles in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine as soon as possible; and
(5) advise on facilities and programme for future development and expansion of the faculty.
When Professor G.K.L. Underbjerg arrived on September 15, 1964 as the first Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, there were no students, no curriculum, no staff members, and no physical plant. In November of the same year, Sir Norman Alexander, the first Vice-Chancellor of ABU, escorted Dean Underbjerg to a tall steel structure with a metal roof and a concrete floor and remarked, “this is where you may have your Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.” This former outdoor gymnasium, along with fifty acres of land, was the beginning of the physical plant for the Faculty. Soon buildings were erected (referred to as Phase I) to house four departments of the Faculty: Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, and Surgery and Medicine. Phase I was formerly opened on November 19, 1965 and teaching started a month later.
Although KSU/USAID was to originally provide training for all phases of veterinary medicine, it became necessary for additional help to come from somewhere else. Ahmadu Bello University, therefore, further requested for and received assistance from the Netherlands Directorate for International Technical Assistance (DITA). As a result, a University of Utrecht team arrived in September, 1965 to develop teaching and research in the area of parasitology. However, it was not until 1968 that the Department of Parasitology and Entomology was carved out of the Department of Pathology; the latter Department was renamed Veterinary Pathology and Public Health. In another departmental change, Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine was created from Veterinary Pathology and Public Health on July 1, 1973.
In 1968, the building housing the clinical areas (Phase II) was completed. The phase II building was financed by a gift from the British Government but equipped, for the most part, by ABU and the USAID. The final phase of physical facilities, phase III, was completed about ten years later. This phase which was fully financed by ABU houses the Dean’s Office, four departments and multidiscipline teaching laboratories, a diagnostic laboratory, a library and three lecture theatres.
Curriculum development proceeded as quickly as the physical facilities developed. The initial curriculum was based on the traditional professional veterinary medicine programme to provide a sound and broad education to suite tropical African conditions. Originally the curriculum consisted of one year pre-veterinary medical courses followed by four years in the professional school. Successful completion of this programme was to lead to a B.Sc. (Vet. Med.) degree. The degree was soon designated Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.). The first enrolled students were from the University of Ibadan where they underwent veterinary medical basic courses, and were matriculated in the 1965-66 session. The guidelines for a postgraduate programme were established in 1969. One of the requirements of this programme was that postgraduate students complete course work at an external university and return to ABU to complete their research and to receive their degrees. Most of the initial participants obtained masters degrees from outside universities, particularly American universities, and later obtained ABU Ph.Ds. The first participant of this programme was Dr. S.A. Bida.
Although the faculty started admitting students in 1965, it was not until 1966 the first Nigerian staff member Mallam A.N. Mohammed (the current ABU Vice-Chancellor), an Entomologist, was appointed. This was the beginning of faculty Nigerianization. The first Veterinarian recruited was Dr. S.A. Bida who was appointed in 1967. Dr. 1. Alhaji (now Professor l.A. Abdulkadir), Dr. Y.O. Aliu and Dr. A.I. Ema were employed in 1969. The first ABU veterinary graduates to join the faculty were Dr. P.B. Addo and Dr. A.A. Ilemobade. Soon several Nigerians joined the faculty. The deanship of the faculty after Urderbjerg (1964-68) was as follows: Prof. J. Sullivan (1968-69), Prof. L.T. Railsback (1969-71), Prof. E.H. Coles (1971-72), Prof. S.M. Dennis (1972-74) and Prof. J.T. Bell (1974-76). The first Nigerian dean, Prof. S.A. Bida was elected in 1976. By this time also Nigerians have been appointed to head five of the six departments in the faculty. Other deans after Prof. Bida were Prof. l.A. Abdulkadir (1977-81), Prof. A.N. Ema (1981-83), Prof. D.I. Saror (1983-87); the current dean is Prof. N. D. G. Ibrahim. In 1969, the position of Prosost for Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine was established and was initially funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Dr. G.H. Beck became the first Provost while Prof. S. Nuru is the current Provost. The KSU/USAID project lasted for thirteen years and terminated in 1977. By this time, the faculty was fully Nigerianized and ABU assumed complete responsibility of running the faculty. The objective of the project were realized.
The establishment of a Veterinary Teaching Hospital to provide teaching in clinics and also service to the surrounding community had been the dream of the faculty for a long time. It was not until 1986 that this dream became a reality when ABU approved a Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The current Director is Dr. Lawal Saidu.
The faculty that started from the scratche has now become one of the biggest faculties in the university in terms of staff strength, staff productivity and physical facilities. For several years, the faculty has been leading in obtaining research grant from the University Board of Research of ABU. The faculty which started with only twelve students in the 1965-66 session admitted 106 students for the current session. The first graduate of the faculty, Dr. B.D. Ikede, was the only product of the faculty in the 1966-67 session. Now the faculty graduates an average of forty students a year; the total number of Veterinarians so far graduated is now 571. Similar increase has been observed in the number of postgraduate output from the faculty. The first postgraduate output was a Ph.D. in 1972/73 session; the faculty has so far graduated 38 masters and 33 Ph.Ds. as of 1985/86 session. Of the 15 Ph.D. graduates at ABU in 1976, 10 were from the faculty; this is an accomplishment that is unlikely to be surpassed for many years.
Within six years of accepting the first students and five years of appointing the first Nigerian, the faculty was 56% Nigerianized and became the first at ABU to pass the 50% mark. By 1972, 67% of the staff were Nigerians and in 1973, 69Db. With the termination of the KSLJ/ USA ID and DITA programmes, 94% of the senior members of staff were Africans. Over the years, not only did the Nigerians increased in number in the faculty but their qualifications and ranks also improved. The faculty received an unprecedented number of promotions in October, 1976: 1 Professor; 3 Readers; 6 Senior Lecturers; and II Lecturer Is. Currently, the faculty boasts of 30 Ph.Ds, 20 M.Scs, 46 DVMs and 1 B.Sc. There are now 10 Professors, 6 Readers, 17 Senior Lecturers, 8 Lecturer Is, 10 Lecturer lIs and 16 Assistant Lecturers. Faculty members actively participate in the ABU administration. The following were produced by the faculty: the former Vice-Chancellor of ABU, Late Prof. A.N. Mohammed, the former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Universities Commission, Prof. Abdulkadir; the Deputy Vice-Chancellors of three other Universities D.I.K. Osori of University of Sokoto, Prof. A.A. Ilemobade of Federal University of Technology, Akure 2 terms Vice Chancellor now retried.Go to Top
The philosophy of the programme is sustainenance of the training of Veterinary Doctors with sound knowledge of modern Veterinary Medicine through the maintenance of capacity to teach, treat and prevent animal diseases with special impacts on the local tropical environmental conditions.Go to Top
Academic ProgrammesDoctor of Veterinary Medicine