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FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE KABBA ESTABLISHMENT BILL: MATTERS ARISING AND UPDATE by Rep Tajudeen Yusuf

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In the past few weeks, I have been inundated, rightly so, by many of our loving constituents, seeking to know about my efforts and involvement in the push, and concerns for the establishment of the Federal University of Agriculture, Kabba, FUAK.

Through countless calls, short messages, comments and views on various social media platforms including WhatsApp and Facebook, concerned people of our dear Federal Constituency have made enquiries, seeking to get updates about this very noble and just cause.

Indeed, opinions and comments about my involvement and contribution to this viable academic project has been divided. For some, “the zeal and effort demonstrated by Hon. TeeJay in transforming our communities through visible projects and empowerment has not been seen on this FUAK issue.

” For others, I have been too silent, “which is not golden.” Some other people believe that “he is very committed to the project, though working assiduously on it, but do not want to make noise about his effort.” For many others, they counsel that, “he should speak to this issue by addressing the people publicly.”

Personally, I am truly excited, humbled and inspired by the vagaries of opinions, comments, criticisms and commendation expressed by the good people of Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency on the Federal University of Agriculture, Kabba Establishment Bill. It is a further demonstration of our collective passion, desire and determination for meaningful growth and development in our constituency. Also, these opinions and comments, either for or against my person, are veritable sources of encouragement and fillip to gear me towards meeting the expectation of our people. Similarly, these comments, opinions and criticisms, are very visible and practical proofs that the desire, wish and hope of every constituent is that I succeed in my stewardship as your servant in the House of Representatives. For this and more, I am eternally grateful.

Having laid this premise, though not in my character to always make public or be loud about some of the milestones, achievements and laudable efforts that God has made one to record, but, this once, I may have to do the needful. Also, yielding to many request and inquiries by our people that I should speak directly to the FUA Kabba Establishment Bill, as your Representative, I cannot do otherwise. Further, it is trite that I use this medium to put a hole to ongoing misinformation, distortion of facts and veiled attempts to vilify my person and impugn my integrity and credibility by some persons.

Permit me to state with every sense of responsibility that, unknown to some people, I have been ACTIVELY involved in the pursuit for the establishment of the Federal University of Agriculture Kabba from the outset. Also, unknown to some people, it is on record that I, with every sense of humility, started a most focused, dogged, determined, passionate lobbying and agitation for the elevation and conversion of the College of Agriculture, Kabba to a degree awarding institution since 2013.
In my quiet, but resolute and principled pursuit of this noble, fair and just academic initiative, and in line with my commitment to inclusive representation, the idea for the elevation of the college to a degree awarding institution was broached and canvassed to some elders, leaders and critical stakeholders from Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency, and Okunland. At every stage, from 2013 to this moment, these personalities are always abreast of the situation.

In the 7th Assembly; between 2011 and 2015, with the support, efforts, counsel and contribution of many like minds, personalities and stakeholders not only from Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency and Okunland, but also across the country, the agitation received very positive attention at the Presidency, National Assembly and relevant MDAs including National Universities Commission, NUC, and Federal Ministry of Education.

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After one year of concerted lobbying and consultation at the Presidency, National Assembly and relevant MDAs, a Committee set up by the National Universities Commission RECOMMENDED that:-

1.​In consonance with the Transformation Agenda of the (then) President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, KABBA be approved as a CAMPUS of the newly established Federal University Lokoja;

2.​The KABBA CAMPUS should run DEGREE programmes (including AGRICULTURE) in FACULTY of ENGINEERING and FACULTY of ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES;

3.​The REHABILITATION, RENOVATION and RETROFITTING of the College of Agriculture Kabba, as a FULL-FLEDGED CAMPUS of the newly established Federal University Lokoja.

It is pertinent to state that the Committee arrived at these Recommendations based on earlier precedents. For instance, the Federal University in Ekiti State (established same time as the one in Lokoja), is a DUAL CAMPUS institution.

Also, the Committee reasoned that having a CAMPUS in KABBA with the Faculty of ENGINEERING and Faculty of ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (which are NOT provided for by the Federal University Lokoja) will be brilliant, and strategic.

Further, the Committee reasoned that due to the paucity of funds required for the wholesale conversion of College of Agriculture Kabba to a degree awarding institution, its transmutation to a CAMPUS having two faculties and running over ten (10) degree programmes including Agriculture) of the Federal University Lokoja will be a cost effective measure.

However, due to unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks and the fast-approaching 2015 general elections, these lofty recommendations and decisions by the National University Commission were NOT implemented by the (then) President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. Sadly, the dogged and resilient agitation, lobbying and pursuit for the elevation of the status of College of Agriculture Kabba to a University (in this case, a strategic CAMPUS of a Federal University) which in about TWO YEARS, got the necessary recommendations, endorsement and approvals at and from every major MDA, became a victim of red-tapism.

At the 8th Assembly, with a new government, new administration and obviously new policy guidelines, programmes and activities, leveraging on my cross-party goodwill and network within the House of Representatives, Senate, National Assembly and the Executive arm of government, I made concerted efforts with the intention of seeking the final approval of the NUC recommendation i.e. official pronouncement that the College of Agriculture Kabba is made CAMPUS of the Federal University Lokoja.

However, each and every effort to see to the materialization of this request were not successful. Despite the avowed commitment, support and assistance of some friends, colleagues and associates from the ruling party (who felt the request was genuine, sincere and will impact positively on agricultural and environmental education in Nigeria), there were massive blockage all through.
Happily, my brother and colleague, Senator Dino Melaye introduced a Bill seeking the establishment of Federal University of Agriculture Kabba. Though different in nomenclature, but what the Bill seeks to achieve and the prior initiative anchored by me in the 7th Assembly are similar in very many ways.

After the passage of the Bill by the Senate, it was sent to the House of Representatives for further legislative input and expected concurrence.

Perhaps; it is very necessary to state without equivocation amidst numerous veiled and direct comments and insinuations of lack of support and commitment to the passage of the Bill, that I (and other lawmakers from Kogi state) were not only involved but actively played a very frontal role in the passage of the Bill. This fact is very well known by many people including leaders, elders and major stakeholders from Okunland. One may be guilty of not making the required noise (as some other politicians do) regarding my commitment and contributions to the passage of the Bill in the 8th Assembly, BUT to accuse me and outrightly declare that I did not support the Bill is criticism taken too far.

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However, for the purposes of public information, on February 8th, 2018, at plenary in the House of Representatives, the Bill was PASSED to the Committee of the Whole House. From available records, since 1999, very very few Bills enjoyed that type of pacy, swift and speedy attention given to the Federal University of Agriculture Establishment Bill by the House.

With every sense of modesty, the accelerated legislative actions and breezy positive outlook enjoyed by the Bill is to a large extent, a worthy recognition, endorsement, and acceptance of my (and other Okun lawmakers) personality, humane disposition, networking capacities and loyalty credentials.

Somehow, and painfully too, the final passage of the Bill was not realizable before the tenure of the 8th Assembly ended. This was not the fault of anybody. It was neither my fault nor that of Senator Dino Melaye (mover of the Bill in the 8th Assembly), or Hon. Sunday Karimi, Representative of Yagba Federal Constituency in the 8th Assembly.

Rather, the Bill became one of the collateral victims of ceaseless (sometimes needless) rifts between the House (by extension National Assembly) and the Executive/ruling party. You will recall that, with the 2019 general elections fast approaching (back then) any and every Bill, Motion and other legislative actions, no matter how good intentioned, became tools for and of unnecessary politicking. Through this, the Bill and similar ones that: if passed and assented to by the President, will have necessary impact on national development, were either frustrated, delayed or suffered outright rejection.

PROCESS/STAGES OF BILL PASSAGE

It is imperative to give a breakdown of parliamentary stages/process for Bill passage in the National Assembly.

These stages are:-

1.​Conceptualisation of Bill
2.​Gazetting of the Bill
3.​First Reading
4.​Second Reading
5.​Public Hearing
6.​Writing of Report
7.​Laying of Report
8.​Consideration of Report
9.​Third Reading (Final stage)
10.​Harmonisation of both Chambers
11.​Transmission to Mr. President for Assent

*Every Bill goes through Nos. 2 – 9 before No. 10 i.e. Bills from either chamber (House of Representatives and Senate) will pass through stages No 2 to 9 (before No. 10) in the other chamber, before Harmonisation (No. 10) stage.

FRESH DEVELOPMENT/UPDATE

In practical demonstration of my unrelenting passion and consistent commitment to the elevation of College of Agriculture Kabba to a degree awarding institution, at the inauguration of the 9th Assembly, I resolved to see the passage of the Federal University of Agriculture Kabba Bill.
Drawing enduring lessons from the experiences of the 7th and 8th Assembly, as well as leveraging on my knowledge of parliamentary rules and regulations, and legislative bureaucracy, I was able to RE-INTRODUCE the Bill (through a very good friend and colleague) that was initiated by Senator Dino Melaye in the 8th Assembly. Leveraging on legislative technicalities, the Bill, through MOTION, was re-introduced in the House of Representatives. By this, consideration for passage of the Bill continued from where it stopped in the 8th Assembly.

Despite being in opposition, the Bill has gained very appreciable mileage. With the favour of God, my cross-party contact, multi-ethnic and regional goodwill and networking skills, the Bill has been given every and all necessary attention it truly deserves by my Honourable Colleagues and the leadership.

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In doing this, the House of Representatives, in conformity with its rules and adherence to parliamentary ethos, successfully MOVED the RE-INTRODUCED Bill to the Committee of the Whole. With this accelerated consideration, the Bill DID NOT have to go through the rigours of the First and Second Readings, as well as Public Hearing.

Similarly, at this stage, with the groundswell support and commitment of my Honourable Colleagues, the Bill had very smooth passage to the Final Report Writing stage. As at this moment, the Report is COMPLETED, and READY for LAYING before the Committee of the Whole for CONSIDERATION and FINAL PASSAGE by the House of Representatives.
With the continued support of the leadership and my Honourable Colleagues (not minding party differences), I am confident that the passage of the Bill at the COMMITTEE of the WHOLE (consideration stage) will not only be hitch free, but smooth and swift. In most cases, LAYING of and CONSIDERATION of Report stage(s), which takes place simultaneously, are completed in one legislative/plenary session.

After the passage of the Bill at the Third Stage by the House of Representatives, this will lead to Harmonisation with the Senate (that had earlier passed the Bill in the 8th Assembly). Thereafter, the approved/passed Bill by the National Assembly will be forwarded to Mr. President for ASSENT.

Let me also add that since the Bill had been passed by the Senate at the 8th Assembly, with the Laying and Consideration of the Report by the House of Representatives expected to be completed in earnest, the Harmonisation (which is the final stage) will be done almost immediately. After which it will be forwarded to the Executive for Mr. President’s Assent.

Perhaps it is necessary to stress that this strategy/approach was explored by me and the House to not only hasten passage of the Bill, but to also insulate it from unnecessary wastage of time, energies and resources if the Bill is introduced anew. Also, as politicking for 2023 may commence next year, it is very doubtful if an entirely new Bill will successfully pass through all the stages of lawmaking before then.
Let me quickly stress with every sense of responsibility that I remain unapologetic, resolute and committed to any idea, move and initiative that will usher meaningful development to our communities and people. I am NOT against any Bill that will lead to educational advancement of Okunland.

For me, given my avowed commitment to the quick passage of the Federal University of Agriculture Kabba Establishment Bill, I had to (in consultation with the leadership and colleagues in the House of Representatives) explore a legislative process that will make it happen swiftly without delay and rigours.

Finally, as I commend us all for our undying love for the growth and development of our federal constituency and the entire Okunland, I wish to strongly advise us all to remain focused, and prayerfully look forward to the realization of this great initiative. I am confident that with the final passage of the Federal University of Agriculture Kabba Bill and subsequent assent by Mr. President, villages, communities and towns within Okunland will experience immediate, and enduring economic, social, academic, trade, investment and infrastructural development.

God bless you!

HON. YUSUF TAJUDEEN (TeeJay)

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Crime

Just In: Kogi Polytechnic Security Operatives Nab Students With Revolver Pistol, Round of Ammunition.

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The security operatives of Kogi State Polytechnic have arrested one Shehu Tenimu Mohammed, an ND II student of the Department of Public Administration of the institution for being in possession of a locally fabricated revolver pistol while making his way into the campus.

The student with Matriculation Number 2018/ND/PAD/170 was, in addition to the illegal possession of the pistol, also carrying five rounds of live ammunition while making his way through the main entrance of the Polytechnic on Friday, 9th April, 2021.

The arrest of the student was made possible by the strong security network put in place to halt any attempt to breach the ban on End-of- Examination Celebration.

It should be recalled that the ban itself came into force in view of intelligence report that some suspected cultists would be coming to the campus with ammunitions to avenge their colleague who was killed after the end of examination in 2019

Management under the the proactive leadership of Dr S.

O. Usman therefore beefed up security on campus, including daily routine check at the Polytechnic entrance and the premises.

Ever at alert, the security operatives of the institution had on Thursday, 8th April, 2021, impounded a Tricycle, (Keke NAPEP) which apparently was intended as a decoy for hiding and releasing gun shots outside the school gate.

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In the same vain, the gallant security operatives also arrested a non student suspected to be a hired merchainary with a cham made “African – bullet” proof on the campus on 7th April, 2021. The suspect who have since been handed over to the law enforcement agency claimed that, he came to the campus to celebrate end of the examination with his sister.

It was the continuation of the security check at the gate that led to the arrest of Shehu Tenimu Mohammed who was coming to the campus purportedly to write his ND II final examination on Friday, 9th April, 2021.

Mohammed was stopped by the ‘stop and search’ officer and was asked to hand over his belongings.

He took to his heels when he realised he would be caught with live ammunition, but it was too late for him

He has since been handed over to the appropriate law enforcement agency for further interrogation and investigation.

Meanwhile, the Rector, Dr Salisu Ogbo Usman, has assured members of staff, students and the general public that no stone would be left unturned in the efforts to ensure that sanity is restored on the campus to make the atmosphere conducive for teaching and learning.

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The Rector who commended the security unit of the institution for a yeoman’s job however appealed to members of the Polytechnic community to always be on the side of the law.

Compiled By:
Uredo Omale
Head, Public Relations and Protocol Unit.
Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja.

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Education

Kogi poly expels four students for exam malpractices, other

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The Academic Board of Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja has approved the expulsion of four students over issues bordering on examination misconduct and other social vices.

A statement issued on Thursday by Uredo Omale, the institution’s Head public relations and protocol unit stated that the expulsion was part of far-reaching decisions made at the Board’s meeting held at the institution’s Main Campus in Lokoja.

The Board chaired by the Rector, Dr Salisu Ogbo Usman, also approved the results of the First Semester for the 2019/2020 Academic Session.

The students expelled for examination malpractice were Abdulrahman, an ND I student of Science and Laboratory Technology (2019/ND/SLT/216), Danjuma (HND I), Graphic Department (2018/HND/IDD/011), and Abubakar (2018/HND/CPS/183), an HND II student of Computer Science Department.

Another student, Wahab of the Mechanical Engineering Department (2018/ND/ME/043) was also expelled and with an added clause of never to be offered admission into the institution, for being in possession of a dangerous weapon and evidence of involvement in cultism.

Durojaiye Helen Taiye, an HND II student of Industrial Design (2018/HND/IDD/007) was found with extraneous materials not related to the particular examination inscribed on her palms and was rusticated for one semester.

The Rector, who appreciated the committees on examination misconduct for the thorough job done, said the polytechnic would not condone any act capable of bringing it to disrepute, and therefore, appealed to students to always be on the side of the law.

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Education

NUC grants licenses to 20 new private varsities

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The National Universities Commission (NUC) on Friday directed universities to reopen for academic activities on January 18.

The Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, gave the directive in a statement issued by the commission’s Deputy Executive Secretary (Administration), Chris Maiyaki, in Abuja.

He said the announcement on reopening of the universities was in compliance with the directive of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) suspended its nine-month strike on December 23 last year.

The commission, however, directed officers on Grade Level 12 and below to remain at home for a period of five weeks as earlier directed by the Federal Government.

The statement read: “I am to add that universities on the resumption of academic activities must under no circumstance violate the full cycle of the university semester system, consistent with the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards approved by the NUC, as well as other extant quality assurance standards and guidelines.

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