MAGNUS Abe, the senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, has advocated for the establishment of a science and technology-based federal university in Ogoniland.
He said the proposed centre for excellence in Ogoniland, as recommended by the report of the United Nations Environment Programmes on Ogoni environment, should be converted into a university in the long run.
Abe spoke at Bera Community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, during a meeting between the Senate Committee on Environment and Ogoni Religious and Political Leaders.
The senator called on the Senate Committee on Environment to push for the establishment of the federal university in order to save funds for the country and sustain the dream behind the Centre for Excellence recommended by UNEP.
He said: “The UNEP report provides for a Centre of Excellence and we have looked at that Centre of Excellence, it is supposed to be a place where the study into the environment, the pursuit of excellence in the environment, will be made, not only for the Ogoni area, but for the entire country.
“Now, the way our country runs, if we don’t make such provisions for the sustenance of that centre, it will die out. It may never achieve what it was intended to achieve.
“So, I wanted to appeal to my colleagues, if we make the centre into a University. In the whole of this area, there is no federal university anywhere in this area. If we make the centre into a university, the money for the establishment is already provided, it will provide for the study of the environment, for science and for agriculture in the long term. Our country will benefit from it.
“It is the National Assembly that has the power to make that legislation. Since the money has been provided, so that our country does not lose after the money has been spent. We can then make that pronouncement to sustain the Centre for Excellence in the long run.”
Responding, Oluremi Tinubu, the chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, said the committee would support any bill or motion sponsored by Abe towards establishing the Federal University in Ogoniland.
Tinubu said: “And your son has just mentioned that there is a Centre for Excellence, I am glad he is in the Senate and he is a member of the Committee on Environment. He knows what to do. He knows our rules.
“All he has to do is to come up with a bill or a motion and we are there to support him. If he wants the Committee to bring the motion or the bill, we are all ready. We are committed to this course as you are.
“We want to make sure that every part of Nigeria is safe like it used to be safe in the past. We know that there are challenges across Nigeria; desertification up North, flooding in the Middle Belt and even in Lagos.”
– Nov. 28, 2017 @ 18:52 GMT