Ahmadu Bello University

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Ahmadu Bello University is a public owned university located in Samaru and Zaria, Kaduna State. It was originally a regional university in the Northern region of Nigeria and reflecting the needs, tradition and the social and intellectual heritage of the land. In 1975, the university was taken over by the Federal Government of Nigeria and made a federal university.

The university was a product of the Ashby Commission recommendations citing the need for increasing the manpower of the country to forestall shortage that may arise in the country's post-independence movement towards economic growth and development.

The university is the largest in Nigeria with a student population of over 35,000.


Ahmadu Bello University was established in 1962. In June, 1962, the Northern regional government passed the Ahmadu Bello University Law and later on October 4, 1964, the university formally opened with classes starting on October 10, 1962. Prior to the commencement of teaching, in April, 1959, a commission was convened to investigate Nigeria's needs in the field of post-secondary school certificate and higher education over the next twenty years and to make recommendations to fulfill the needs. The commission submitted its report titled 'Investment in Education' to the ministry of Education on September 2, 1960, included in the report is a special report made by Professor Harbison detailing Nigeria's high level manpower needs for 1960-1970. Harbison's report based on the manpower needs for economic development suggested an annual rate of output of 2,000 graduates from Nigerian universities but at the time the report was finalised in 1959 fewer than 1,100 graduates finished from the University of Ibadan and overseas universities. The Ashby Commission report basing its premise on the limited capacity in the country's higher level educational system, Harbison's report and the its conception of Nigeria in 1980 made as one of its recommendations the creation of a university in the North utilizing the Zaria branch of the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology as base. The commission also requested the university commission to contact the Northern regional government about the need to establish a university in the region. The regional government accepted the recommendations and in 1961 requested the Inter-University Council for Higher Education Overseas to advise on the scope and activities of the proposed university. The council responded and sent a delegation comprising Sir Alexander Carr-Saunder, Mr J.L. Reddaway, Prof R.B. Serjeant and Prof E.G. White. The delegation visited the Northern region in April, 1960 and submitted its recommendations the same month, it stated that primary and secondary education needed to be developed in the North but for the thorough development of education, all fronts of primary, secondary and post secondary education should advance at the same and the proposed university would stimulate the educational progress of the region. The report also recommended a unitary university basing its foundation on the Zaria branch of the Nigerian College, the Abdullahi Bayero College, Kano, the Institute of Administration, Zaria and the Institute for Agricultural Research, Samaru. In April 1961, a law creating a provisional council for the proposed university was enacted and Dr N.S. Alexander made principal with Kashim Ibrahim as chairman of the council.

On October 10, 1962, the university immediately made use of the facilities and faculties of the incorporated institutes. The Abdullahi Bayero College of Kano founded in 1960 had the faculties of Arabic and Islamic studies which was incorporated into the new university. The Institute of Administration, Zaria was founded much earlier in 1954 with two major departments: Law and Administration incorporated, it now is part of the Kongo campus. The institute also gives certificates in local government, education administration and business administration. Another major institute is the Institute for Agricultural Research and Special Services. It has four research stations located in Samaru, Mokwa, Shika and Kano, it was a division of the Northern Ministry of Agriculture before its assets was transfered to the new university in October 1961.

Academic profile

The university has an academic staff totaling over 2,000 distributed in 12 faculties and three major centers. The faculties are Administration, Agriculture, Arts, Education, Engineering, Environmental Design, Law, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Science, Social Sciences and Veterinary Medicine. In addition to the merged institutes, the college as an advisory and teacher training institute of education aptly named the Institute of Education. The education institute was established in 1965, two years later, the Institute of Health was established to complement the medical programme of the university. The new health institute took over government hospitals in Kaduna, Zaria, Kano and Malunfashi. A School of Basic Studies was established in 1970 to help with knowledge diffusion in the North and other government educational policies. The faculty of Law also as a Center of Islamic Studies

The university's political science department detached from the Institute of Administration and within the Faculty of Social Science has a specialized Center for Social And Economic Research. To provide electronic services for staff and students, the college's department of Library and Information Science as an ICT laboratory which complements the Iya Abubakar Computer Center and the internet cafe's within the main campus.

According to a ranking of universities in the Organization of Islamic Countries, Ahmadu Bello University was ranked fourth in Nigeria in the number of articles published between 2004-2006.



The main library of the university is the Kashim Ibrahim library, it has a capacity for over 500,000 volumes of books and a reading space for 2,000. It was opened in 1976 and constructed as a three floor building. The library system also has other library extensions including the Institute of Administration's library which has over 48,000 volumes while the Samaru Public Library which was opened in 1963 and is administered by the university's department of Library Science has over 30,000 volumes. Other tributaries includes the 'Medical library in the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, the School of Nursing Library also in the Teaching Hospital', the Veterinary Medical Library and several departmental libraries.


The university's teaching hospital: the Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital has a strong history of research in maternal health

Other centers

  • Arewa House (Research Centre)
  • Biotechnology Centre
  • Centre for Automotive Design and Development
  • Centre for Energy Research and Training
  • Centre for Islamic Studies
  • Division of Agricultural Colleges
  • Institute for Development Research
  • National Agricultural Extension and Liaison Services
  • National Animal Production Research Institute
  • University Health Services

External links