HISTORY OF THE COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
In 1963, the National Universities Commission (NUC) recommended that the Federal Government should take the initiative, following the Ashby Commission report, to establish a medical school in the University of Nigeria which should become functional in October, 1968. Nothing concrete in terms of provision of Physical Structures for the Medical School was achieved by the time the Nigerian Civil War broke out in 1967.
A couple of days after the civil war officially ended, the Administrator of the East Central State of Nigeria, Mr. Ukpabi Asika, while appointing a Planning and Management Committee (PMC) for the University of Nigeria under the chairmanship of Mr. Vincent Ike, also appointed an Ad Hoc Planning and Management Committee of the University Teaching Hospital under the Chairmanship of Dr. F.A. Udekwu, Associate Professor of Surgery, to once again look into the question of using the Enugu General Hospital as a functional hospital for the University of Nigeria.
While the battle for the control of the General Hospital, Enugu was going on, the Faculty of Medicine had reassembled under the deanship of Prof. G. Onuaguluchi.
There were pressures from many quarters to admit medical students soon after the war but responsible opinion in the Faculty opposed the idea as the Faculty had no buildings of its own and no equipment to begin teaching. The Faculty Board therefore decided to postpone admissions until October, 1970 and to use the intervening period of about 8 months in getting basic facilities ready for teaching.
Students were admitted for the first time in October, 1970 as follows:
1st Year (premedical class) – 60
2nd Year (1st year preclinical class) – 58.
The 1st Year students stayed at the Nsukka Campus studying physics, chemistry and biology among other subjects. The 2nd year students began their studies at the Enugu Campus and studied Anatomy, Physiology and Physiological Chemistry. Three of the students were foreign students (two from Ceylon and one was a refugee from South Africa).
In 1972, the Board of the Faculty of Medicine while discussing with the Vice-Chancellor on his new organizational (Collegiate System) structure for the University, decided to recommend to the University that the Faculty of Medicine should be “organized separately as a semi-autonomous School or College and should be separately financed”. Consequently the Faculty Board of Medicine on November 17, 1976 and February 3, 1981 again resolved that a College of Medicine be established. However, it was not until February 24, 1982, that the Senate gave its consent for the establishment of the College and the University Council at its 118th meeting on March 3, 1982, approved that the College of Medicine be established. The Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Executive Council, following the approval given by the NUC on March 1982, also gave their approval on June 9 and July 29, 1982 respectively. The College of Medicine of the University formally became a reality with the signing of the University of Nigeria Statute No. 2 by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, on December 3, 1982.
The College began with two faculties: The Faculty of Medical Sciences and Dentistry and Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology. Following elections on December 7, 1982, Prof. R.M. Anikwe became the first Provost of the College and Prof. S.C. Ohaegbulam became the first Dean of the new Faculty of Medical Sciences and Dentistry. The Vice-Chancellor appointed Prof. B.C. Umerah as the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology. He was subsequently elected the first Dean of that Faculty in 1983.