The Federal University Lokoja on Wednesday honourd Professor Toyin Falola, one of the Africa’s greatest scholars, by organising One-Day National Conference by the Department of History and International Studies as part of activities to mark the 5th Convocation programme of the institution.
The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi while declaring the conference open, with the theme: Insurgency, Armed-Banditry and Ethno-Religious Conflict in Central Nigeria, said the conference was put together to celebrate Professor Toyin Falola’s contributions to education in Africa.
While stressing that his contribution is worthy and noble, he noted that “In contemporary Africa, Professor Falola has more than any African scholar put the narratives of the African story in global discourse and map, he said.
According to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Falola has raised and nurtured young African scholars through numerous conference organized within and outside the continent.
“Professor Toyin Falola is a detribalised Nigerian, a great scholar and prolific writer whose wish and hope is for a United Nigeria where potentials are harnessed for the development of the continent” he said.
On the theme of the conference, the Vice Chancellor noted that in the last decade, the Nigerian State had been besieged by devastating activities of insurgents, armed bandits, and violence by non-state actors.
He stated that on what appears to be a free for all, the entire country seems to be enmeshed in a theatre of violence, with an intensity that is unprecedented since Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999.
He noted that among other factors, this phenomenon has been compounded by the unchecked proliferation of arms, the porous state of the country’s borders, the seeming lack of political will to bring perpetrators to justice, and the incessant agitations for resource control.
“From the available literature, this phenomenon has become more manifest in Central Nigeria due to the desertification of the North East, leading to migrations to the area.
“The complexity of the situation is worsened by the ethnic composition of Nigeria, ethnic-politics for resource control and ethno-religious determinism, the ripple effect of which is the general insecurity of lives and property with its attendant effect on the education and economy of the people, and the gross violation of the rights of women and children, most of whom are either sexually abused or killed,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor added that apart from being the convergent point of Rivers Niger and Venue, and the passageway from southern to northern Nigeria by road, Central Nigeria is critical to food production in the country.
“Given the religion’s importance and the seemingly unending nature of the crisis, the conference hopes to.intwrrogate these boggling issues from multidisciplinary perspectives and their implications in the Nigerian State
“This conference will provide a platform for scholars to interrogate the trajectories of these developments and their implications in the Nigerian State,” he said.
Earlier, Professor Gbenga Ibileye Chairman local organising committee in his welcome addressed described Professor Toyin Falola as one of the most distinguished sons of Africa continent our venerable Professor Toyin Falola, who incidentally is one of the academic and intellectual strengths behind the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Lokoja, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi.
On the theme of the conference, Professor Ibileye opined that it is aimed at opening up the frontiers of intellectual discourse on the ever-present threat of instability in North Central Nigeria.
“It is also meant to open a Vista for proferring solutions to the hydra-headed problems of Insurgency, armed banditry and ethno-religious conflicts in the region.
However speaking with Journalists the sideline of the programme, Professor Toyin Falola said he was very happy, ssyi that it is a triple honour for him by holding National Conference in his honour.
He noted that he is on top of the world, and on top of his carrier, and that on Saturday during the Convocation he will be given a Honorary Doctorate
Participants at the One-Day National Conference are drawn from the three continents of Africa, Europe and North America.