Establishment of the Unit
Archives are places where scholars, researchers and interested persons go to gather first-hand facts, data, and evidences from letters, reports, memos, photographs, documents and other primary sources. Archives are increasingly becoming important features of universities the world-over, due to their significance to creating a viable research culture. Record management is also assuming new dimensions and significance. Besides, storage and recording record management is important for the emphases it places on keeping embrittled documents and books for posterity. Beyond that, record management is increasingly gravitating towards electronic record keeping system that is the automated information system for the organized collection, processing, transmission, and dissemination of information. The value of digitization of an organization’s record and information system has since been realized by forward-looking organizations. It is in the light of this that the University of Maiduguri undertook to establish an Archives and Records Management Unit.
The Archives and Records Management Unit was conceptualized and established by the Professor J. D. Amin administration in 2008. Professor David S. M. Koroma initiated the idea of establishing such a unit in the University in view of its relevance to the life of a university system. Recognizing the potential significance of an archives and records management unit for the university the then Vice Chancellor Prof. Amin approved and lent full support for its establishment. The timing for its establishment was auspicious, in as much as no such Unit had hitherto been set up in the University. Besides, after more than thirty years of existence, the several documents that should ideally be placed in such a Unit had clearly accumulated resulting in the challenges of adequate space to house them. This was also in addition to the fact that Management appreciated the need to retire and retrieve old but sensitive documents and valuable policy documents for safekeeping in an archives and records Unit. Thus, in 2008 Professor D.S.M. Koroma was appointed as Coordinator to set up the Unit.
The Unit began with three staff including the Coordinator, Prof. David S. M. Koroma, the Secretary, late James Dauda, Assistant Secretary, Kucheli S. Shira, Librarian , Fanta Aliyu and Office Attendant, Musa Kellu. Professor Koroma later left for his home country Sierra Leone in 2011. Professor Kyari Mohammed who came from the Federal University of Technology Yola on sabbatical was asked to oversee the Unit as Coordinator. After his departure at the end of his Sabbatical year Mr Samaila Inuwa who had been the Head of the Unit continued to oversee the affairs of the Unit up 2014 when he also proceeded on study fellowship to Malaysia. In February 2015, Professor Saliba B. James was appointed as the new Director of the Unit.
The Archives and Records Management Unit believes in protecting and promoting the integrity of the University of Maiduguri as an institution and ensuring the attainment of its lofty ideals through proper preservation of its important records and policy documents. Such critical documents are the administrative and academic soul of the University. To preserve them is to guarantee continuity of the system.
The vision of the Archives and Records Management Unit is to serve as a 21st century centre for the collection and preservation of all historically and managerially important, sensitive and critical records as well as documents of the University, and the northeast region, employing both conventional and digital methods of collection, preservation and management.
The mission is to engage in regular retrieval of vital records and documents from various administrative units, divisions, College, faculties and departments, after following a standard procedure of appraisal and retirement would furnish the Unit with such items as are due for safe-keeping in the Unit. The Unit shall liaise with traditional and governmental institutions as well as individuals with rich private historical collections in the northeast region in order to retrieve documents from their custody for preservation in the Unit.
The objectives of the Unit are as follows:
Since the Archives and Records Management Unit was established in 2008, a solid foundation has been laid. It is presently housed in a temporary building pending the construction of a permanent structure which has already been designed. A significant collection of important items already exist including still photographs of past Chancellors, Pro Chancellors, Vice-Chancellors and other Principal Officers of the University; maps and master plan of the University; bound Council and Senate papers; bounds reports and minutes of important Committees of Council and Senate; archival materials on Borno province in the colonial period; newspapers clippings on the Boko Haram insurgency etc.
In the area of academic collaboration the Archives and Records Management Unit (ARMU) is an important part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the University with two universities in Germany, namely the University of Hamburg and the University of Heldesheim. The University will be collaborating in the areas of intellectual exchanges of documents and scholars as well as also manpower training. The Centre participated in a workshop organized recently by the Centre for Manuscript Studies, University of Hamburg and the French government in Bamako Mali on Manuscript Studies from September 27th -11th October 2015. Two of its staff, a librarian and photographer, participated in the workshop.
In the area of promoting research, modest efforts have began to retrieve documents on the northeast region from Kaduna to Maiduguri, beginning with materials on Bauchi and Borno provinces. The Unit has also commenced collection of materials on the Boko Haram insurgency with newspaper reports. The long-term goal is to establish a “Boko Haram Insurgency Museum” in the University.
Since the inception of the Unit, great significance has been attached to the goal of digitization. Mr. Samaila Inuwa , the former Coordinator, understudied the system at the National Archives, Ibadan and recommended full digitization of the Unit. The former Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mala M. Daura, commended the planned digitization during his tenure. His successor and incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ibrahim A. Njodi, is strongly in support of establishing an electronic archives housed in an ultra modern archival edifice. The University has indicated a strong commitment to all these, even as the activities of the Unit increase and the documents accumulate. The need to transform the Unit into a 21st century outfit therefore remains a commitment on the part of all the stakeholders.
The staff of the Unit presently include: Director, Prof. Saliba B. James; Administrative Secretary, Mr. Justin Wudiri; Archives Librarian, Mal. Jafaru G. Garba; Director’s Secretary, Mrs. Kucheli S. Shira, Data Processing Officer, Mal. Salisu Lawan; Chief Clerical Officer, Mal. Mustapha M. Kori; Clerical Assistant General, Mr. Solomon Y. Chiroma and Office Attendant, Mrs. Amina Garba.