The Press briefing commenced at 12:12 pm with prayers by Rev. Fr. Azubuike followed by opening remarks by Prof. John Sambe, Dean, College of Social Sciences and Head, Mass Communication Department who welcomed everyone present especially the Gentlemen of the Press. He noted that the briefing was an opportunity to continue to improve the publicity of the University, especially in her academic excellence. During his briefing, the Vice Chancellor stressed that the 8th Convocation Ceremony was a big mark of growth and progress for the University. He intimated the Press that the University, which was established 12 years ago by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) is rapidly growing.
He outlined the 8th Convocation Ceremony Program as follows:
a. Thanksgiving Mass at 9:00 am at the University Chapel
b. Foundation Laying Ceremony of the Law Faculty, named after Justice ChikediIwe of blessed memory
c. Blessing of the University Police Station
d. Convocation Lecture at the University Multipurpose Hall, to be delivered by Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State.
e. Award of degrees.
The Vice Chancellor informed them that 26 students across the six colleges of the University made first class. He pointed out that Veritas University has an atmosphere of a good relationship between lecturers and students – a relationship that is not common in public institutions due to the population. He added, “The ratio in Veritas University is almost one student to one lecturer”. According to Prof. Ichoku, this is one of the reasons why students perform excellently well.
Responding to the questions on security challenges and cultism, the Vice Chancellor made it point black that the university has zero tolerance for drug abuse and cultism pointing out that the good and adequate security provision in the University helps a lot in combating all traits of drug abuse.
He extolled the wonderful security work the Sheriff Deputies Security Company and the Nigerian Police Force are doing in Veritas. The University also has hostel administrators, who lived with the students, monitor their movements and their day-day operations in the hostel and report back to the management. He went on to say, “There are also hostel masters/mistress who ensure that the hostel administrators carry out their duty. There are security personnel attached to every hostel who also ensure that there are no unusual movements in the hostels and the University campus. These measures have helped the University to checkmate the activities of students in the campus and it is one of the reasons why there is zero cultism in the University”.
The Vice Chancellor also added that the constant moral and ethical training and orientation of students every Wednesday during the University’s Community Mass also helps in maintaining a high level of discipline in the University.
Prof. Ichoku informed the Press that all 30 Programmes being run by the University are all accredited and that the University has gotten approval to begin Engineering: Computer Engineering and Electronic Engineering during the 2020/2021 academic session.
The Vice Chancellor similarly briefed the press that the University has a good standing relationship with the host Communities of Zuma and Gaba, adding that the University just completed the project of drilling borehole for Gaba community and was about to do same for Zuma Community.
Briefing them on admissions, the Vice Chancellor noted that Private Universities have peculiar challenges of being perceived as having high school fees, and as a result of this, many parents send their children to public institutions. However, he noted that Veritas University as a private university is a little different compared to other Private Universities in Abuja, because of the policy of the Proprietor of the University - the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) who have insisted in capping the fees within the reach of the rich and the poor. He, however, stated, that the University is making more progress at the moment. “As of 2018/2019 academic year, the University admitted only 420 students, however, for the 2019/2020, the University has been able to admit 630 students that will matriculate on Saturday, February 29, 2020.
Informing them of the IJMB Programme domiciled in the University, the Vice Chancellor revealed that the University equally admitted a good number of IJMB students through the relentless effort of the coordinator, Dr. Mrs. Juliet Mouneme.
Prof. Ichoku made it clear that, though the University is owned by the Catholic Bishops, the admission of candidates is not based on one's faith and religion or tribe and race. “There are no specific categories of students for admission into Veritas University, the candidates must possess 170 points in JAMB, 5 credits in WAEC or NECO, including English and Mathematics. The University does not consider candidates based on faith. More than 240 of our students are from an Islamic background.
The Registrar of the University, Dr. Mrs. Stella Okonkwo added that the University Admission Committee was doing a great job going from one place to another, across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria for admission drive in Secondary Schools, which according to her has yielded good fruits this year.
In the effort to have quality lecturers, Prof. Ichoku informed the Press of the University system of the students’ evaluation of the staff. This, he said, was paramount to the academic success of the University. He intimated that teaching staff evaluates the students during examinations, while students also evaluate their lecturers during course evaluation exercise. “The idea of this evaluation is to know the quality and capacity of the University lecturers”.
In another development, the Vice Chancellor informed the Press that University is working hard towards establishing collaborations with foreign Universities where a student can start his/her studies in Veritas University for 1 -2 years and complete the studies in another University abroad and get certificate either in Veritas University or the one abroad. This, he believed will happen in less than no time.
Similarly, the University is planning to establish a Language Centre where 17 foreign languages will be taught. The University is also in serious talks with the Association Commonwealth University (ACU) to become a full member.