Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has called for introduction of stringent conditions for establishment of universities in the country, to ensure high standard.
Gbajabiamila said this at Wednesday’s plenary in Abuja.
He was speaking on a report of a bill for the establishment of Federal University, Daura, Katsina State.
He said that the conditions would prevent the proliferation of universities in the country.
“There is a balance between demands by constituents and what is good when we know what is right.
“I think this matter will be resolved when we pass the National University Commission (NUC) bill, where perhaps, we can make establishment of universities more stringent.
“Otherwise, you will run into a situation where a state government or whoever will just come, get a building or three buildings together and say they want a university,” he said.
According to him, the stringent measures will be in place until such a time when the government is no longer funding universities, then you can have 200 in a state.
Earlier, Deputy Speaker Ahmed Wase, faulted the speaker’s position on the matter, saying that many lawmakers have promised their constituents that they would attract tertiary institutions to their areas.
According to him, this is because some lawmakers have promised their constituents a tertiary education.
Also, Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) said that the lawmakers were under pressure from constituents on the establishment of university.
“In my opinion, I think it is not wise to shut down every voice or every member on this floor as it relates to sponsoring a bill for the establishment of either college of education or polytechnic or university in their various communities.
“I said this because when you go tot he constituencies and you are talking to the constituents, most often, the first thing they ask you is; why are you not bringing any school to your constituency?
“And when you say it is not possible and they see your colleagues sponsoring same bills for the establishment of universities, it becomes a negative for you as an individual who is representing them.
“So, whether it is assented to by the President or not, it is not the issue; the issue is that member is able to show that he has the interest of his or her constituents at heart,” he said.
Rep. Ifeayi Momoh (APGA-Anambra) faulted the transport university, Daura, establishment bill, saying that the National Institute of Transportation Technology (NITT), Zaria should be upgraded rather than establishing a new university.
“I am just thinking aloud because we have the NITT -Nigeria Institute of Transport Technology – in Zaria.
“When there is an institute of transport technology, which deals with the science of transportation itself, why are we now looking at establishing a Federal University of Transportation?
“We can amend the enabling law and upgrade NITT to a federal university; the constant proliferation of universities in our country is not helping us,” he said.
The director general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Malam Shehu Ilelah, has said that the commission will establish the Institute of Broadcasting Policies and Regulations in 2022.
Ilelah, who made the disclosure at a press conference Thursday in Abuja, said the establishment of the institute would enhance professionalism in the broadcasting industry.
He said the commission had initiated a partnership with the National University Commission (NUC) and the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE) to pass on curricular accreditation in the nation's tertiary institutions.
“Preparations for the establishment of the Broadcasting Policy and Regulation Institute are high on my agenda for next year. This is to ensure professionalism, ”he said.
Ilelah reiterated the need for professionalism in broadcasting, saying: “We know the damage that fake news, hate speech and unprofessional broadcasting have cost society.
“We must be extremely cautious with the content we publish. NBC prides itself on its professionalism, efficiency and integrity in fulfilling its mandate as a regulator, ”he said.
The CEO urged new licensees to pay their license fees, as he requested expiration dates to avoid penalties.
"For established broadcasting stations that owe license renewal fees, we notify them that they have until February 17, 2022 to pay their debts or withdraw their licenses and reassign them to potential licensees," he said.
According to him, the affected broadcasting stations owe license fees amounting to about 4 billion naira.
On digital change (DSO), Ilelah said that the commission took very important progressive steps towards updating the project in the country.
“In my first month in office, I established an NBC Steering Committee that reviewed the challenges of the previous DSO launch across the country from the pilot launch in Jos in 2016 to Lagos this year.
"Also in November, my team was in Kano for the changeover of digital terrestrial television transmission signals, thus providing the digital experience to viewers of television content in the state," he said.
Delta Government on Tuesday approved the sum of N456 million to reward the winning state team at the National Sports Festival, tagged, “Edo 2020”.
The State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, who disclosed this to newsmen in Asaba, said this is part of the decisions reached at State Executive Council (EXCO) meeting held on Tuesday in Government House.
He said though times a hard, the government decided to fulfill the promise made to the athletes because of the honour they brought to the state and to encourage them to do more.
According to Aniagwu, before the athletes proceeded to Edo 2020, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, just like he did in 2019 in Abuja, promised that each medal will attract some prize.
“As we speak, because of that promise, the athletes repeated the same feat and the governor approved funds to be paid and that is going to cost us about N456 million to settle that”.
Aniagwu, who was in company of his counterparts in Higher Education, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare, and Prince Emmanuel Amgbaduba of the Oil and Gas Ministry, said government also approved N600 million counterpart funds to attract funds from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programmes for 2020 project cycle.
He said that modalities have been put in place to ensure proper allocation of the Aboh-Ogwashi Agro-Indusrial Park to investors through a public private partnership arrangement for effective active take-off of the project.
He said that government also approved the construction of a General Hospital at Ute-Okpu in Ika North East Local Government Area of the state to enable the people of the community and environs enjoy the contributory Health Insurance Scheme without hitches.
He said that the executive council also approved the termination of the contract for the construction of about 50 units of two-bedroom and three-bedroom bungalows along the Ibusa road to enable its completion and to ease the housing challenge in the state capital territory.
He said that government also approved the construction a road and drainage projects behind the State Secretariat to ensure free vehicular movement and flow of flood water after the rains.
He said that government has approved the transfer of the School of Marine Technology, Burutu, from the Ministry of Transport to that of Higher Education for proper supervision and management.
On his part, the state commissioner for Oil and Gas, Amgbaduba, disclosed that government has approved the regulation of siting of petrol and gas stations in the state to ensure safety.
He recalled that on Jan. 22, this year, the state recorded a gas explosion at Agbor which killed about 23 persons.
“Consequently, the governor suspended the siting and construction of petrol or gas stations around the state until a thorough investigations and a committee report is done.
He said that the committee report is out and that the governor has approved the construction of petrol and gas stations with a stringent conditions that must be met by investors.
The Commissioner for Higher Education, Muobighare, disclosed that the National University Commission (NUC) has given the three new state universities accreditation to admit students into certain faculties for the 2021/2022 academic session.
He, however, reacted to a statement credited to the Chairman, Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), University of Lagos Chapter, that there was proliferation of universities in Delta when the state government could not pay salaries in existing university and other tertiary institutions.
Muoboghare said, “it is not in my character to call somebody a liar but that was a lie. I state categorically, Delta state does not owe workers.
“I also state categorically that some of the reason why the national ASUU go on serial strike regularly does not exist in the Original Delta state University, Abraka, and no federal university pays better than the Delta state university, Abraka.
“And I also want to inform you all that what Delta State University, Abraka, is paying is what these staff in the three new universities are earning,” Muoboghare said.
The National Mathematical Centre (NMC) has trained no fewer than 50 postgraduate students on geostatistics, to enhance national planning for effective development.
Prof. Promise Mebine, Director/Chief Executive, NMC, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, on Monday.
Represented by Prof. Funmilayo Saporo, Coordinator of Statistics at the Centre, Mebine said that the training would help statisticians to address challenges in the area of spatial statistics.
He said that the Centre had a five-day zoom meeting, which targeted graduate assistants, master’s students and master’s degree holders from universities and other interested lecturers in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
The training, he explained, aimed at exposing young Nigerian scientists’ and researchers to the knowledge of geostatistics in their research work.
According to him, geostatisrics is statistics applied in space and time; it is not like ordinary statistics applied only in locations.
“The training is intended to expose Nigerian scientists to this field because in Nigeria, geostatistics or spatial statistics is not in the syllabus of the National University Commission (NUC).
“So, with this now they will be exposed and they will have greater capability in analysing data that presents itself in that form.
“For example; if you can look at COVID-19 data across the states you can use the idea of geostatistics to analyse the incidence’’, he said.
He, therefore, advised Nigerian students to take their work seriously and try their best to always overcome challenges instead of being complacent.
“Because there is no way you can have everything easy, definitely Nigeria is going through hard times, that should not deter a serious person from achieving his/her objectives.
The director, however, identified lack of funds as one of the challenges militating against the centre’s activities, saying that if the centre had enough funds allocated to it, it will carry out its activities more efficiently.
Also speaking, Prof. Audu Isah, Department of Statistics, Federal University of Technology, Minna, said that “Foundation Postgraduate course on geostatistics’’ was designed to acquaint statisticians with the area of spatial statistics.
Isah, who was also the resource person for the programme, further explained that geostatistics could be useful in the area of estimation and prediction.
“Sometimes, we may have scarcity of information; it may become difficult to go to each point to gather information, so information is scarce.
“Then, what we do is to get information from whatever point we can and we use that information to predict what may be happening at other locations that we cannot visit considering special dependence.
“This special area applies virtually in every field of life, you can use it even in econometrics, accounting, pollution and any other field one can think of,’’ he said.
Isah noted that “spatial statistics is an area that is about dying in Nigerian universities.
“So this course will open the eyes of many of our graduates of statistics that want to go into spatial statistics, particularly geostatistics which is an aspect of spatial statistics.
“The programme is designed for graduates from Nigerian universities and polytechnics, who may be interested in further studies.
“It is designed in such a way that participants will gain the basic foundation for further research and studies in geostatistics.
“And those that will be interested in carrying out research will actually be aided ,’’ he added.
By Stephen Adeleye
Traditional leaders and residents of the Kogi Central Senate District commended Governor Yahaya Bello (GYB) for his giant strides in delivering heritage projects across the area.
They praised it when the Governor's Special Advisers (SA) Forum, during an inspection tour of some key district projects, on Wednesday marked: "Visiting GYB Legacy Projects."
The forum's first port of call was the newly established Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH) in Osara, Adavi Local Government Region, state.
The President of the Forum, Hon. Usman Ochidi, who also serves as the governor's SA for project monitoring, said the tour consisted of inspecting and presenting GYB Legacy projects in the three senatorial districts, including completed and ongoing projects in the state. .
He added that the aim was to promote and publicize these heritage projects so that the world would be aware of the incomparable achievements of the Governor in all sectors of the state economy,
Ochidi stressed that the governor is more than capable of doing more at the national level when he becomes president of Nigeria in 2023.
“We want to tell the world that we have a detribalized candidate, who is under 50 and has what it takes to rule this country.
“We have a governor who believes in the development of infrastructure and the safety of life and property; a governor who matches his word with action, ”Ochidi said.
In response, CUSTECH Vice-Chancellor Prof. Salawu Sadiku praised the forum for the initiative, calling the governor's achievements in the education sector “unprecedented”.
Sadiku noted that the governor, through the establishment of CUSTECH, had been able to resolve the challenges that Kogi students faced in gaining admission to science and engineering courses at other universities.
He said the governor had moved at "the speed of the mind" since the university received approval from the National University Commission (NUC) on December 17, 2020.
The VC added that the university has gained approval to offer 11 courses and currently has more than 240 students who have completed the first semester and currently the second semester.
He therefore commended the governor for his total commitment to the development of the university's infrastructure which would enable it to compete favorably with any university in the world.
“We want you to convey our sincere greetings to His Excellency and his team, who are tireless in ensuring that the university is not only a reality, but that it will be able to compete favorably with any what other university in the world in a very short time. " he said
Statistical student, CUSTECH, Yusuf Abdulrahman, thanked the governor for taking education to the next level in the state, and prayed to God to grant him perfect health to continue the good work.
The Governor's Special Advisor for Education, Science and Technology, Dr Gabriel Ottah, described the speed of infrastructure development at CUSTECH as an incredible courtesy from the Governor.
“This clearly shows that the Governor is doing well and needs everyone's support; if the governor could do it in Kogi state, he can do it for Nigeria, ”said Ottah.
The forum also paid courtesy visits to the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alh. Ado Ibrahim; the president of the Okene local government area, Mallam Abubakar Yusuf and the Adeika of Eika, the president of the traditional council of Okehi, Mallam Abubakar Jatto.
The Ohinoyi praised the forum for the initiative to promote the governor's good works across the state, saying it has been successful in all sectors, especially in infrastructure and security.
The Supreme Ruler noted that he prayed that a person from Ebira would become governor of the state during his lifetime while on the throne and that God answered his prayer.
The royal father assured the forum of his continued prayer for the governor as he aspired to be president and prayed that this would happen during his lifetime.
The President of Okene LGA, the Hon. Abubakar Yusuf, the governor has said since taking office, has been instrumental in curbing the high rate of insecurity that has plagued the state in the past.
Yusuf pointed out that the governor's security achievements could never be described by anyone, especially in Okene and across the state.
For his part, Adeika of Eika, HRH Abubakar Jatto, also congratulated the governor for his tremendous achievements in Okehi and other LGAs of central Kogi, particularly in the areas of roads, infrastructure and security.
The monarch prayed that God would grant the governor the grace to become president of Nigeria, saying he would perform very well.
Other projects visited include: the ongoing construction of the state-of-the-art referral hospital in Okene, the newly constructed Ohinoyi Palace; refurbished and constructed projects at the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Obangede, Okehi; and many roads rehabilitated and constructed in the LGAs of Okene, Adavi and Okehi.
Some residents, Aisha Muritala, Mariam Shaibu and Ojo Obeiba, have all congratulated the governor on rehabilitating several of their roads, and pray to God to bless him and appoint him president.
According to them, the roads were very terrible before but thanked God that His Excellency had rehabilitated the roads and we were very happy.
Sen. Chris Ngige. Minister of Labour and Employment said this at the end of a meeting between the Federal Government and ASUU on Friday in Abuja.
“The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) was committed to release N30 billion on or before Nov. 6.
“The remaining N10 billion would be spread equally over the two tranches to be paid in May 2021 and February 2022 respectively. The OAGF should quickly conclude the verification of figures of EAA claims so as to clean up the figures from 2014 to 2020.
“To this end, a committee would be constituted by NUC to develop a template that would capture all the agreed allowances in the 2009 Agreement for all the Unions in the Universities.
“Thereafter, the OAGF and the National University Commission (NUC) are to quickly conclude the verification of the EAA figures, so as to defray the payment from 2014 to 2020. ASUU is to work with the OAGF and NUC to achieve that by the end of December,” he said.
He noted that the process of mainstreaming of the EAA into annual budget using the agreed formula shall be activated.
He also said that the NUC and Ministry of Education are to coordinate the activation process immediately and should be concluded by Nov. 6th.
Ngige added that the National Assembly has agreed to implement the process of mainstreaming provided the amount involved is sent in as quickly as possible by the Ministry of Education.
The minister also said that both parties agreed on the issue of funding for the revitalisation of public universities.
“In spite of the economic downturn as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, government have offer N20 billion payable by the end of January 2021, ” he said.
He said that ASUU also agreed to take the offer to its members for consideration and revert by Oct. 21.
“The Minister of Education will follow up with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on its earlier Memo to Mr President on sources of alternative funding for revitalisation to facilitate the process of additional funding of the University system.
“This is with a view to reactivating the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of 2013 as agreed in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 2019,” he said.
Ngige, however, said it was agreed that on the issue of Salary Shortfall that ASUU will confirm and report at the next meeting.
On the state universities, it was agreed that the NUC Act will be amended in order to strengthen its regulatory capacity.
Ngige however noted that the meeting was informed that the visitation panels to Federal Universities have been approved by Mr President, but they have not been gazetted.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Education is to ensure gazetting within two weeks on or before Oct. 29th.
“The meeting agreed that the Panel will be inaugurated latest by the end of November and the Panel will have a four to six weeks mandate to finish its work by Dec. 31st and submit two reports per university covering five years periods of 2011 – 2015 and 2016 – 2020,” he said.
Ngige also revealed that government renegotiating team would be reconstituted on or before Oct. 31, and the renegotiation will be concluded on or before Dec. 31.
On the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the meeting was informed that ASUU has met its timeline regarding the first stage of the initial demonstration of the efficacy of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to government.
The meeting also agreed that if UTAS passed all the integrity test, which involve the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), it would be adopted for the payment of the University staff.
It added that they can thereafter be migrated to UTAS whenever certified digitally efficient and effective with accompanying security coverage.
Also on the issue of withheld salaries of ASUU members, the meeting agreed that Government will pay this money as soon as the mode of payment is agreed upon by both parties.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, on Thursday inaugurated a new Senate Building constructed by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund), at the Bayero University Kano (BUK).
The Senate building designed with over 200 offices was named after Prof. Adamu Abubakar, the former Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University, now Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC).
Abubakar was the ninth VC of the University, who served between 2010 and 2015.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Minister was represented by the Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Olodele.
Adamu called on the incoming VC of the University, Prof. Sagir Abbas to sustain the tempo of development in the university.
“The new Senate Building should be a big challenge to the new administration to sustain the current tempo of development in the university,”Adamu said.
He commended the University for establishing a number of purposeful research centres for conducting research in various fields of studies for the development of the country.
Adanu said: “It is worthy to note that research centres that are purposeful are springing up in the university which should be commended as they will go a long way in promoting research for the development of the country.”
The Minister noted that Bayero University had been able to maintain the tradition it was known for as one of the universities that enjoyed peace among both the former and the sitting VCs, as being experienced in other universities in the country.
“The university has maintained the tradition it is known for being at peace, as there are no quarrels between or among the former VCs and sitting VC unlike what is happening in other universities,”he said.
Also speaking, Prof. Abubakar commended Tetfund for executing the project and the BUK management for naming the edifice after him.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso (NAN)
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the speaker has been enmeshed in an alleged certificate forgery scandal, which has prompted some of his colleagues in the house to seek for justice.
In a letter dated July 15, obtained by NAN on Thursday in Owerri, the group advised the embattled speaker to resign and submit himself for investigation for alleged certificate forgery.
The letter signed by the Country Director of AJA, Mr Yomi Balogun, demanded that the speaker should return the salaries and emoluments paid since 2015 till date to the coffers of the State government.
“It has, therefore, become imperative that you immediately step aside as the Speaker of the Imo State Assembly and subsequently resign as a member of the State Assembly.
“You should also desist from drawing public funds using this obviously false and fraudulent foundation on the bases of which you were elected.
“As part of our tenets , we shall in seven days seek and take out an order of Mandamus for the full investigation and prosecution of your person to unravel the circumstances surrounding your PhD certificate.
“Having graduated and obtained a first degree at an age not above 30 years to be qualified for an exemption certificate under the Act, which you claimed you obtained from NYSC, it becomes imperative to investigate such certificate.
“We also want to ensure that all such emoluments, salaries and allowances earned by you from 2015 till date and as may have been enabled by this incredible qualification submitted in INEC form CF001 by you is returned to the people of Imo State and the interest of tax payers in the State,” the letter read.
According to the group, the speaker tendered under oath a falsified certificate, thereby committing perjury, an offence punishable under the law.
Balogun said that the call for the speaker’s resignation would not shield him from possible prosecution.
Reacting to the development, a member of the State House of Assembly, Mr Frank Ugboma, (PDP Oguta state constituency) said that the legislature was aware of the petition against the speaker.
He said: “Within three months in office, the issue of the speaker’s certificate saga came up and the speaker constituted a five-man panel to investigate the matter, of which I was a member.’’
Ugboma said that the committee had invited the speaker to appear for questioning severally, but he refused to appear.
The lawmaker advised the speaker to listen to the call and resign honourably because he could not be a judge in his own matter.
When contacted, the Speaker’s Special Assistant on media, Mr Emeka Ahaneku, said the group was trying to blackmail his principal.
He said that only the National University Commission (NUC) had the power to determine degrees and its equivalent.
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno on Wednesday inaugurated a committee for the establishment of a Medical College and Teaching Hospital for the Borno State University.
Inaugurating the technical committee at a ceremony at Government House, Maiduguri, Zulum said that the committee would be headed by Dr Othman Kyari, a healthcare professor and former Chief Medical Director of University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
He said that the Committee would develop a blueprint for the establishment of the college, in collaboration with stakeholders like the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and the National Universities Commission.
The governor, who gave the committee three months to submit its recommendations, observed that with a medical college in the state university, funds used in sponsoring citizens for medical courses abroad and other places would remain in Borno and help to improve the university and other aspects of education.
He said the committee’s terms of reference included examining and advising government on the feasibility of establishing Borno State College of Medicine and Borno State University Teaching Hospital.
He added that the team was expected to produce blueprint for speedy establishment of the Borno State College of Medicine and Borno State University Teaching Hospital, including appropriate timelines for the commencement of the two institutions.
He said “the Committee is also expected to produce relevant technical documents, including appropriate designs, and likely cost implications for the two projects.
“It will identify and advise government on appropriate sites for the two projects, bearing in mind the post COVID-19 challenges.
“It will advise on the best strategies of getting qualified academic staff for all the departments in the Borno State College of Medicine, as well as the minimum staff requirement for smooth take-off of the Borno State University Teaching Hospital.
“To advise on appropriate state-of-the-art equipment required for the two projects.
“To consider and advise on the possibility of working out strong collaboration with University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) and University of Maiduguri toward the success of the two projects.
“To consider and advise on the possibility of securing support nationally and internationally toward the realisation of the projects.
“To liaise with relevant regulatory bodies, including the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and National University Commission (NUC) to facilitate the smooth and timely takeoff of the two projects.
“To consider any other matter relevant to its assignment.
” And to co-opt any other person or persons the committee deems useful for the success of its assignment.”
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)
Some lawmakers from Rivers state in the National Assembly has commended former Gov. Peter Odili, for his commitment and continuous contributions to the development of education in the state.
In a statement signed by Sen. George Sekibo, and Rep. Kingsley Chinda, the lawmakers congratulated Odili for the full accreditation of Pamo University of Medical Sciences, Oyigbo.
The National University Commission (NUC) had earlier inspected facilities in the institution and conferred full accreditation status on the school which belonged to the former governor.
The legislators described the feat as overwhelming saying that the University with specialty in medical sciences will contribute to knowledge in the relevant fields in the state and the country as a whole.
“We received with overwhelming joy and gladness the news of the accreditation of all the courses offered by your University.
“As a people, and on behalf of the Rivers men, women, elders, children, youths, residents and indigene-without-borders, whom we represent, we congratulate you and all who contributed in making the rare achievement possible.
“It could never have come at a better time than now when the world is looking at medical and scientific knowledge and breakthrough to help humanity overcome the current challenge.
“Once more we say, Congratulations even as we urge you to keep the flag high and ensure the standards and records already set remain world standard as it gives humanity and hope,’’ the lawmaker said.
The parliamentarians pledged to identify with the defense of humanity and the excellent standard that the university represents.
Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)