Abia Seeks Legislative Approval for Three Universities

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By Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo

The Abia State Government has taken a decision to establish three more universities by converting the existing tertiary institutions to specialised universities.

The state already has a public-owned university, the Abia State University Uturu (ABSU), which it inherited after it was carved out from the old Imo State.

The need for additional universities was among the major decisions taken at the State Executive Council meeting presided by the state Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, last Tuesday just before he reconstituted his cabinet.

Subject to the approval of the state House of Assembly, the Abia State Polytechnic Aba would be transformed to Abia State University of Science and Technology, Aba.

The Abia State College of Education Arochukwu would be converted to Abia State University of Education, Arochukwu, while the Abia State College of Health Sciences and Management Studies will become Abia State University of Science and Management Studies, Aba.

The executive council decisions were made known in a statement issued by Chief John Okiyi Kalu, who was the state commissioner for information before he was deployed to the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, shortly after the council meeting of last Tuesday.

According to him, the State Executive Council approved the bifurcation of the state Ministry of Education into Ministry of Basic Education and Ministry of Post Basic Education.

Other decisions bordering on the education sector were the renaming of two Technical Schools. The Boys Technical College, Aba, is now known as Government Technical College, Aba. The Secondary Technical College, Afara, Umuahia, is now known as Government Technical College, Afara, Umuahia.

Approval of special funding for Abia State Scholarship Board was also given to enable the board “deliver more foreign scholarships to desiring Abia students as well as award local scholarships.”

The SEC further approved the rehabilitation of nine roads totalling 25.4km in Umuahia, the capital city, and awarded to Pumeco Industries Nigeria Limited. Similarly, other road contracts were awarded across the state with names of contractors but no cost was stated.

COP 26: Nigeria Asks Developed Countries to Honour Pledge of $100bn on Climate Support

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

Nigeria has asked developed countries to honour the pledge of $100 billion annually to support climate action in developing countries.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja on the position Nigeria would be presenting at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) holding in Glasgow between 31 October-12 November 2021, co-hosted by United Kingdom and Italy, the Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor said: “We require the developed countries to honour the word given made back in 2009 of mobilizing $100 billion per year by 2020 to support climate action in developing countries.”

Ikeazor while lamenting that developing countries especially those on the Africa continent bear the brunt of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission, noted that: “Recent announcements, including President Joe Biden’s pledge to double US climate finance, have brought developed countries closer to honoring the pledge.”

She however said more needed to be done to restore credibility and strengthen trust between developing and developed nations.

Ikeazor noted that “considering that Africa is at the receiving end of climate change impacts, our focus will be to strengthen our ability to adapt to climate change impacts.

“Also, another important element for discussion at COP26, is the question of how to deal with economic and non-economic harms caused by climate change impacts which cannot be avoided through adaptation or mitigation, known as ‘loss and damage’. As we look towards the firming up of increased finance for adaptation, we also look forward for progress in the operationalization of the Paris Agreement’s ‘Global Goal on Adaptation’.

She disclosed that: “The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland, His Excellency Boris Johnson has invited Heads of States and Government to participate in the World Leaders Summit (WSL) and High Level segment scheduled for Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd November 2021, during which the World leaders will have the opportunity to make national statements.

“HE President Muhammadu Buhari will be attending the WLS and will read Nigeria’s Statement at the event. Mr President is to attend alongside a high-powered delegation consisting of some State Governors, Ministers and other select government functionaries.”

She noted that: “Climate change will transform the way we live, causing water shortages and making it harder to produce food. Some regions could become dangerously hot and others uninhabitable because of rising sea levels. Extreme weather events – like heatwaves, downpours and storms – will become more frequent and intense, threatening lives and livelihoods. People in poorer countries, which are least able to adapt, will suffer most. The past decade was the warmest on record, and governments agree urgent collective action is needed.”

The Minister said Nigeria has on hand negotiators who would assist the country in getting good deals.

She said: “The UNFCCC negotiations provide a forum through which all parties openly communicate their interest and challenges on climate change issues and then reach consensuses on how to move forward. A country party delegation consisting of one or more officials empowered to represent and negotiate on behalf of their government.

“Based on the tradition of the United Nations, Parties are organized into five regional groups, mainly for the purposes of electing the Bureau, namely:

African States, Asian States, Eastern European States, Latin American and the Caribbean States, and the Western European and Other States (Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States of America). Developing country Parties generally work through the Group of 77 to establish common negotiating positions through the African Group of Negotiators (African Group) which Nigeria belongs to.”