Deji Elumoye and Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, has disclosed that 80 per cent of undergraduates in the Nigerian Army University in Biu, Borno State are from the southern part of the country.
Ndume, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army and sponsor of the bill to give legal backing to the Nigerian Army University which passed through second reading at Tuesday’s plenary, faulted ethnic sentiment trailing the location of the special tertiary institution in the home town of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai.
He said 80 per cent of the current students enrolment were from the southern part of the country.
‘’Remember last year, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) confessed that 10 million students applied but they could only take few. The whole Nigerian universities could only take two million. So, that means there is more than over seven million Nigerians who couldn’t get admission.
‘’Yes, that university has been located in an area where you think there is insecurity, but 80 per cent of the students right now are from the southern part of the country. You can go and check the records. That means, insecurity that people talk about is not in the minds of our youths. The youths are pan-Nigerian,” he said..
The lawmaker equally faulted the argument that the university should not have been located in the North-east, because of security challenge facing the zone.
‘’Are you saying that because we are unfortunate to be facing this callous actions by the insurgents, then the nation should abandon us and we shouldn’t get anything? ‘’If anything, the Nigerian Army University is most appropriately to be located in Biu.” “
In fact, it should be in Sambisa. I represent Borno South Senatorial district and we have several institutions in Borno State. You can read more about the history of Borno and the geography of Borno State. For me, there should be more universities in the state,” he added. The Senator explained that the university would facilitate warm relationship between officers in the military and civilians anxious to acquire knowledge about the military.
According to him, ‘’It is the only university for example that will have three Deputy Vice Chancellors (DVC): one is the DVC Academic, DVC Administration and that’s what it’s obtainable in conventional university.
“But the Nigerian Army University has DVC Military that will provide the civilians with the academic atmosphere to earn higher degrees. So, you don’t have to be a soldier to be in that university.
“Besides, all the universities in this country have been tailored towards specifics. You hardly see somebody from Borno State attending University of Nsukka. Most of these universities have been compartmentalised into regions, states, catchment areas and all that.
‘’But the Nigerian Army University is for all Nigerians. You can come from anywhere and there is no issue of quota system. No issue of religion at all. So, that makes it a unifying place for all those that are interested in academics related to the military.
“Like I said in the lead debate, it will provide the civilians knowledge about the military and it will also provide the military the knowledge of mixture with the civilians. The university is already on ground, academic activities have started, and they have five faculties with 39 courses in place.
‘’What the National Assembly is trying to do is to give it the enabling legal framework. That’s why we are fast tracking the bill.’’