PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has described the death of the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Prof. Grace Alele-Williams, as a loss to the nation.
He stated that the renowned mathematician will be greatly missed by Nigerians and those who have come in contact with her.
Buhari condoled with the family of Alele-Williams, colleagues, friends and associates all over the world.
Alele-Williams, the first female Vice-Chancellor in Nigeria, died on Friday at the age of 89 at an undisclosed hospital in Lagos State.
In a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said Alele-Williams’ achievement in education and administration opened doors for many women in Nigeria, Africa and the black race.
Buhari commended the late professor for being the first female to obtain a doctorate degree in Nigeria in1963, and the first female VC of the University of Benin in 1985.
The President said her achievement had continued to inspire a generation who have found their passion and voice in research, teaching and lifting the nation with ideas, especially in science and technology.
Buhari believed the scholar’s brilliance and outstanding character reflected in every opportunity and position she served, particularly playing a major role in the educational development of the country, and serving as a consultant to many international institutions, including UNESCO.
The President said the entire country would sorely miss the scholar, and cherish the memories of her diligence, discipline and refreshing candour.
Buhari prayed for a peaceful rest for the soul of the departed, and God’s comforting arms over her loved ones.
Meanwhile the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Benin (UNIBEN) branch, has described the demise of Prof. Alele-Williams as saddening.
Dr Ray Chikogu, UNIBEN chairman of the ASUU, said this while reacting to the death of Alele-Williams in Benin.
The ASUU chairman prayed to God to grant the deceased eternal rest.
Chikogu told NAN that the late former vice-chancellor was at the helm of affairs of the institution at the time that it was clearly in need of a direction and strong leadership, which he said she provided.
“She was an icon in the University of Benin and we missed her greatly.
“The University of Benin misses her because of the remarkable landmarks she left in the university in terms of good infrastructure and human development.
“She left an indelible footprint and we are hoping that God will give her immediate family the fortitude to bear the loss, and hope that God will grant her eternal repose,” the ASUU leader said.