13 Nigerian students at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Zaria have bagged double degrees, having graduated from a Chinese institution in Railway Engineering.
A source with ABU broke the news in a statement on Sunday, adding that a previous set had been awarded scholarships for their masters in China to become career experts.
In a photograph that accompanied the statement, the students, dressed in black gowns, can be seen flinging their academic caps into the air while holding their degree certificates in their hands.
“Another set of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria students who just graduated from China in Railway Engineering, react during the ceremony,” the statement read.
“This makes them graduates in Nigeria as well. The first sets were awarded scholarships for their Masters in China to become experts in their careers.”
Ibrahim Garba, a former VC of ABU, had disclosed that the university entered a collaboration with the Central South University, China, to introduce a new joint degree in Civil Engineering.
“Because of the respect outside world has for our engineering, that’s why you will hear a story of our collaboration with a university in China,” he was quoted to have said back in 2019.
“We have now entered into a joint degree for the first time in Nigeria, a joint degree between Ahmadu Bello University and Central South University, Shong Shi in China.
“Chosen students in Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering will spend three years in ABU and go to China and spend two years and earn two degrees of ABU and China simultaneously.
“Our degree in ABU may be Civil Engineering and that of China may be Railway Engineering for example. I remember, less than a year ago, we have sent the first batch of 45 students.”
It’s known that Railway Engineering programmes are relatively new to Nigeria’s university system as a stand-alone course, a situation which prompted CCECC, a Chinese firm, to offer youths scholarships thereto.
But the ministry of transportation was later accused of making the opportunity exclusive for top government officials rather than throwing it out openly to Nigerian students.