A bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria Army University, Biu, Borno, to make comprehensive provisions for its management and administration has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill, which originated from the Senate, seeks to give legal backing to the university, which is already in existence, was presented by the Majority Leader, Rep. Ado Doguwa.
Rep. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP-Abia) argued that the army did not need a university to address the security challenge in the country.
He said that rather than establish new institutions, the Nigerian Defence Academy and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji should be strengthened.
Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) said that should the house pass the bill, Air Force, Navy, Civil Defence and other security agencies will also want to establish universities.
The lawmaker said that the country was already faced with the challenge of insufficient resources saying that establishing new institutions would further stretch the purse.
Supporting the bill, Rep. Ahmed Jaha (APC-Borno) said that Borno has only one federal university which is located in Maidugiri.
He said that in the southern part of the state, there were no fewer than 60,000 orphans and widows as a result of the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
According to the lawmaker, the ideology of the terrorist group is to discredit and abolish western education.
Jaha said that in 2018, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) approved 1,000 university slots for candidates but over 2,000 applied.
He said that in 2019, JAMB approved 15,000 slots but over 26,000 thousand candidates applied.
The lawmaker said that the bill, when passed into law would encourage and prove the benefits of education to the people.
Jaha appealed to members to support the bill to enable children in the region to access university education.
Also, Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas (APC-Adamawa) explained that the Nigerian Defence Academy is strictly for soldiers while and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College is for senior officers.
Namdas, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Army, said that Army University is open to both military personnel and civilians.
He said that military officers travelled abroad for further studies and trainings saying that with the establishment of the university such studies and training could be done here in Nigeria.
The legislator said that Nigeria had about 200 million citizens and that it needed more universities to meet the demands for higher education.
When the matter was put to a voice vote by the Speaker of the house, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, members unanimously voted in support of the bill.
In his ruling, Gbajabiamilia referred the bill to relevant committees of the house for further legislative actions. (NAN)