The Senate has passed for second reading, two bills seeking to establish a Federal University of Agriculture and Technology in Aboh (Delta State, and Araromi Obu (Ondo State), respectively.
The bills are sponsored by Senators Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta North); and Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP, Ondo South).
Nwaoboshi in his lead debate said that Aboh, which is a part of the Ndokwa ethnic action in Delta State, holds huge deposits of crude oil and gas resources.
According to the lawmaker, Ndokwa is a major contributor to the national economy, in addition to generating 480 Megawatts from the Okpai Independent Gas Power Plant.
He lamented that despite the immense contribution of Ndokwa federal constituency to the Nigerian economy, it continues to suffered neglect.
“Mr. President, each day that this institution is not in existence is a disservice to this country and, I must say, a continuation of a historical pattern of systemic abandonment of the peace-loving people of Ndokwa who give their best for the good of all.
“They want this institution. They deserve it. Let us give it to them. It will promote national development and harmony”, Nwaoboshi said.
He added that the establishment of the Federal University of Agriculture and Technology, Aboh, was in response to the Federal Government’s policy to establish a university with specialisations in agriculture in every geo-political zone.
“The South-South geo-political zone does not have one yet. Therefore, the proposed Federal University of Agriculture and Technology, Aboh is for the South-South region in line with this equitable policy”, the lawmaker said.
Nwaoboshi emphasised that the institution when established, would be a centre of excellence with specialised research and study interests in the immense natural endowments in Ndokwa and beyond.
He assured that the Ndokwa people in Aboh have offered to donate a large expanse of land in excess of 100 hectares in Aboh for the development of the main campus of the university.
Contributing to the debate, the Deputy Senate President lamented the marginalisation of the Ndokwa people, adding that the federal constituency remains the only constituency without the presence of a higher institution in Delta State.
“The Ndokwa Federal Constituency produces so much to the economy of this country, not just by way of oil and gas deposits.
“Indeed, in the entire West Africa, it is Otorogun in my constituency and Okpai that hosts the highest gas deposits in the entire coast.
“Mr. President, notwithstanding this contribution, there’s nothing in that Federal Constituency that is in anyway commensurate with their contributions to the economy of this country.
“Mr. President, this Federal Constituency has been so marginalised.
“They have been crying for a higher institution either from the state government or federal government.
“But for some reason we are unable to explain, Mr. President, they have been deprived.
“The perception on the street in the federal constituency is that government is indeed very wicked to them.
“Mr. President, by bringing this bill, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi seeks to correct that perception.”
He added, saying, “Mr. President, about a month ago, notwithstanding these agitations, the Delta State government established three new state universities, but none was established in this federal constituency.
“Let me make it very clear, that those areas where the new universities were established are deserving. I’m not in anyway suggesting that they are not deserving.
“But this federal constituency is most deserving, taking into account that others already have higher institutions of learning – either federal or state.”
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred both bills seeking to establish a Federal University of Agriculture and Technology in Aboh (Delta State, and Araromi Obu (Ondo State), to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.
The Committee which is chaired by Senator Ahmad Babba Kaita is expected to carry out further legislative work on the bills and report back in four weeks.
Nationwide Strike : TUC Faults NLC
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has raised alarm that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not carry it along before declaring a two-day nationwide industrial action planned for February 27 and 28, 2024.
TUC Secretary General Nuhu Toro, in a letter to the NLC leadership dated February 19, 2024, expressed disappointment that the Joe Ajaero-led labour group did not carry the Festus Osifo-led trade association along before declaring a planned strike despite that the two groups unanimously issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to implement its agreement with the Organised Labour and address the mounting economic crisis of survival in Nigeria.
The TUC said the 14-day ultimatum will expire today (Thursday) and both centres ought to agree on the next step but the NLC on February 16 declared a two-day protest to commence after the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum it jointly issued to the government.
The TUC general secretary said, “It is important that this is the third time that such unilateral declaration is happening under your leadership, we are therefore constrained to formally put this on record as various discussions, communications and interventions have failed. First and second time could pass as human error but a third time would in our opinion translate to an intentional act to undermine us.
“Also note that we are not averse to the issuance of your resolution because our members equally feel the pain, even if it’s a weeklong national strike, but we have a huge problem with the unilateral declaration for a process we both muted and agreed, because our members are equally concerned about the rising cost of living and not particularly the ultimatum, why can’t we see through the ultimatum that expires within the same period before jointly addressing other issues of mutual concern or at worst consolidate them?
“For the avoidance of doubt, we fully understand that NLC is an independent labour force centre that has the right to take independent decision, it is pertinent that when such decisions are taken unilaterally, there is need to go ahead and implement unilaterally.”
The Department of State Services (DSS) has since urged the NLC to shun the planned strike, pursue dialogue and negotiation, instead of engaging in actions that could escalate tensions but the Ajaero-led group has insisted on going ahead with the industrial action.
National Assembly To Consider Fresh Legal Framework For State Police – Bamidele
The National Assembly has disclosed that it will consider a legal framework for the creation of state police and for the gathering of local intelligence about the activities of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists.
The legislature also challenged the local government council authorities, traditional rulers and community leaders to mobilise local vigilantes, hunters and able-bodied youths in defence of their communities and territories.
The Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele made these remarks on behalf of all the recipients of honorary doctorate degrees at the Federal University, Oye Ekiti on Saturday.
Apart from Bamidele who received Honorary Doctorate Degree in Private Law, the university conferred similar honours on Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Olamilekan Adeola and Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Navy, Hon. Yusuf Daji, among others.
Speaking on behalf of all the awardees, Bamidele revealed the resolve of the National Assembly to develop a legal framework and support local intelligence gathering to tame the tide of banditry, kidnapping and terrorism.
Specifically, the senate leader pleaded with the critical stakeholders – traditional rulers, community leaders, vigilante groups and able-bodied youths – on the need to provide useful information to the state security services on the activities of criminal elements disrupting our national peace.
According to him, all the state security services require community, group and individual support to decisively confront the menace of banditry, kidnapping and terrorism across the federation.
Bamidele said: “More than ever before, the National Assembly is working tirelessly to provide the necessary legislative framework to strengthen community policing and multi-level security architecture.
“Developing such a legal framework has become imperative at this time in our history. This plan is in the overriding public interest of safeguarding the security of lives and property, the stability of our democracy and the progress of our fatherland.
“The cases of abduction, killings, maiming, population displacement and disruption of socio-economic activities in Benue, Ekiti, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Ondo, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara in recent times have called for an urgent and decisive action by all state actors and other stakeholders.”
He expressed dismay with spate of insecurity in the country, saying Justice would duly be served to those were complicit in the recent abduction of pupils of Apostolic Faith Nursery and Primary School, Emure-Ekiti and their teachers and the gruesome killing of two of two traditional rulers – Onimojo of Imojo Ekiti, Oba Olatunde Olusola and Elesun of Esun-Ekiti, Oba Babatunde Ogunsakin in the Oke-Ako area of Ikole Local Government.
He further warned that the day of reckoning “is already at hand for those behind abduction, maiming and killing in Ekiti and other states of the federation. None of them will escape the long arm of the law. In Ekiti, we are peace-loving people. But nobody should take our spirit of good neighborliness and accommodation for granted for any reason.
On the economic crisis, Bamidele reassured Nigerians that relief is already in sight soon considering strategic reforms the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been taking to revive the economy.
Also at the convocation, Adeola vowed to give priority to the country’s educational sector, especially where and whenever he had the opportunity to make such contributions.
Adeola, currently representing Ogun West in the Senate, thanked the leadership of the institution for bestowing the honorary doctorate on accountancy on him.
Uba Sani Blames Poverty, Hopelessness, Others For Insecurity In North-West
The governor of Kaduna State, Uba Sani, says poverty, unemployment, hopelessness and lack of education are the major reasons insecurity is festering in the Northwestern part of the country.
Sani, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, monitored in Abuja said that the issue of banditry and kidnapping in the North-west is different from that of insurgency in the North-East.
“The North-West crisis has to do with banditry and kidnapping, it is economic problem. When you look at the situation critically, you will agree with me that most of those bandits always kidnap innocent people and ask for ransom and whenever they are given money, they will release the victims in many cases and some cases when there is a delay they end up taking the lives of those victims.
“And when you look at the situation, you also look at the problem of poverty, unemployment, hopelessness and lack of education particularly in the Northwestern part of Nigeria, that is the reason why a lot of these incidents happen,” Governor Sani said.
The governor maintained that statistics has proven that greater percentage of people living in the North-West are living below poverty line, adding that a lot of out of school children in the country are also from the North-West zone.
“The last time I checked, and you can confirm from the SDGs recent report, you would agree with me that about 80 to 90% of the people living in the Northwestern part of Nigeria are living below the poverty line and of course if you look at the statistics of out of school children, you can see that a lot of the are from the Northwestern part of Nigeria,”he said.
Governor Sani said that bringing the criminals and pardoning them when they surrender is only one aspect of non-kinetic approach of ending the insecurity which according to him, is not the most important aspect.
The most important approach to ending the menace as he noted, is looking at the condition of the people generally which includes the poverty, unemployment and hopelessness.
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