By Deji Elumoye and Chuks Okocha
Five bills including the one for the establishment of a Nigerian Army university in Biu, Borno State on Tuesday passed through the first reading at the Senate.
The bills cited as Nigerian Army University Biu (Est, etc) bill, 2020 (SB 332) sponsored by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume; 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) bill 2020 (SB 318) sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; Investment Assurances Bill 2020 (SB 110) sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah; Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act CAP B2 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment bill 2020 (SB 330) sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi; and Nigerian Arabic Language Village Ngala (Est, etc) bill 2020 (SB 331) were read at plenary by the Clerk of the Senate, Mr Nelson Ayewoh.
A copy of the establishment of the Nigerian Army University bill sponsored by the former Senate Leader and senator representing Borno South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Ali Ndume, obtained by THISDAY showed that the university will be a training institution for the development of middle and high-level manpower in the areas of technological empowerment for civilians, appreciation for military policy, logistics and strategy.
The university upon establishment shall be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Education through the National Universities Commission (NUC) and be responsible for approving and regulating all academic programmes run in university.
According to the provisions of the bill, the supervision by NUC would ensure quality compliance and provide funds for academic and research programmes, infrastructure and remunerations of employees.
The bill abolished catchment area syndrome being adopted by conventional universities for the proposed institution.
It stated categorically that: “No person shall be required to satisfy requirements as to race, including ethnic grouping, sex, place of birth, family origin, religious or political persuasion, as a condition for becoming or continuing to be a student in the university. No person shall be subjected to any disadvantage or accorded any advantage in relation to the university.”
The bill prevented the university from imposing any restriction on anybody on accounts of religious beliefs.
The bill stipulated the objectives of the university to include providing facilities for learning and give instruction and training in such branches of knowledge as the university may desire in order to ensure that students obtain the advantage of a liberal education.
It is also aimed at promoting research and other means of advancement of knowledge and its practical application to military hardware and software, social, cultural, economic, scientific and technological situations.
The university shall have powers to offer courses of instruction, training and research in the advancement of knowledge for the production of middle and high-level manpower and other skilled personnel required in further development of Nigeria in particular and the world at large.
It will establish such faculties, institutes, schools, colleges, centres, extra-mural departments and other units of learning and research within the university as the university may from time to time deem necessary or desirable subject to the approval of the NUC, among others.