1961-1970 (PRE-CIVIL WAR).
From available records, the Department of Agricultural Economics started as the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension in 1961. The Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Payne, initially acted as the Head of Department until the arrival of Prof Warren Vincent. Prof Warren Vincent was the Head of Department till the start of the Nigerian-Biafran war in 1967, when all foreigners left the university. Other American staff of the Department included Prof Carl Eichel,and Prof L. L. Bogen. All staff was seconded from Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA. At the end of the war, during the “commando session” which lasted approximately from February 1970 to August 1970, Mr. Felix Nweke, who was the only academic staff in the Department (Assistant Lecturer), also acted as the Head of Department.
Brief History of the Department
The programme in Agricultural Extension in the University of Nigeria was initiated at the instance of UNICEF in 1965, when the agency entered into an agreement with the University to support the programme for a period of five years. This was done because it was realised that the programmes of the Faculty of Agriculture were defective without a programme in Agricultural Extension. Agricultural development was conceptualised as a system held in place by three important links – agricultural education (which includes soil, crop and animal scientists as well as agricultural economists and extension experts), agricultural research and agricultural extension. The omission of agricultural extension in the Faculty programme was thought a serious one because research and other activities carried out in soil, crops and animals were useless unless their findings were made available to and accepted by farmers; hence, the need for a programme in agricultural extension.
At the inception of the programme in 1965, agricultural extension was organised as part of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension because of lack of teaching staff and other logistic support. In 1973/74, the curricular of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension were restructured to permit two degree options – Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Extension. In 1981, as a result of greater national awareness of the importance of agricultural extension, the University Senate created a separate Department of Agricultural Extension. The programme started in 1981; the trend in student enrolment at undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as staff disposition has been in the upswing. The department had always had full accreditation from the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) since inception.