Bill for Establishment of Fed Varsity Ogoja Scales Second Reading

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• 40 bills on higher institutions pending

James Emejo in Abuja

A bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of the Federal University of Technology, Ogoja and for related matters wednesday scaled second reading in the House of Representatives in spite of some resistance from concerned lawmakers.

Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe (PDP, Cross River) noted that there had been agitation by the Nigerian public and attempt by successive administrations in the country to increase admission spaces among the federal universities.

He said in order to translate the agitation into reality and to satisfy the yearning of the people, stakeholders have seen the need recommend options, including establishment of new universities.
In his lead debate, he said: “It might interest you to know that it is only in Cross River State that one has to travel six hours from Ogoja to Calabar to access the nearest institution of learning and that is University of Calabar.”

However, members were divided on the subject matter.
Chairman, Rules and Business, Hon. Emmanuel Oker-jev (APC, Benue) over 40 bills seeking for the establishment of institutions of higher learning were pending from the House.

He added that the Minister of Education had recently written the Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, raising concern over the unending passage of related legislation against the backdrop of the backdrop of the present fiscal challenges facing government.

But, Hon. Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) said the issue of education depended on the policy direction of a particular government and backed the passage of the bill.
Hon. Betty Apiafi (PDP, River) said given the current financial stress in the economy, the idea of creation of more universities should be discarded, stressing that state governments which desire such should step in if they have the required funding capacity.

Hon. Nkem Uzoma- Abonta (PDP, Abia) said while a country can’t progress without education, and given that government had failed to properly manage education, the private universities should fill the gap.

When however put to the voice vote by the Speaker, those in support of the bill carried the day, nevertheless.
The bill will now proceed to public hearing where stakeholder will have the opportunity to make input into the bill.