80 per cent of students in Army varsity are from South ― Sen Ndume
The Senator representing Borno south, Ali Ndume has justified the establishment of the Army University in Biu, the home town of the Chief of Army Staff General Tukur Buratai.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after his “Bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Army University Biu,” passed Second Reading on the floor of the Red Chamber, Ndume, who incidentally is the Senate Committee chairman on Defence, decried ethnic sentiment trailing the location of the special tertiary institution as he noted that eighty per cent of the current students enrolment were from the southern part of the country.
Senator Ndume equally faulted the argument that the University should not have been located in the North-East state because of its scary security challenge.
He said: “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! That’s what is killing us. Yes, it is located in Biu, but let me tell you, ever since before the coming of that university, we have been advocating, because I represent Borno south, and if you know the history of Borno, we have several institutions in Borno state, it is only College of Education that’s located in Biu. Go and look at the history of Borno and the geography of Borno and where the academicians are coming and where the crave for education is.
”You will find out that it is mostly in Southern Borno. In fact, left to me, for the requirement of Nigeria and specifically that area, there should be more universities.
“Remember last year, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) confessed that 10million students applied but they could only take, the whole Nigerian universities could only take 2million. So that means, there is more than over 7 million Nigerians who couldn’t get admission.
“So, if you are establishing university there and let me tell you to your surprise, that yes, that university has been located in an area where you think there is insecurity, but 80 per cent of the students right now from the 1700 that were admitted this year are from the southern part of the country. Go and check the records. That means this insecurity that you are talking about isn’t in the minds of our youths. They are thinking Nigeria.”
The Chairman Senate Committee on Defence further said the Army University would stimulate the warm relationship between officers in the military and civilians anxious to acquire knowledge about the military.
“It is the only university, for example, that will have three Deputy Vice-Chancellors: one is the DVC academic, the DVC administration and that’s what you know in normal conventional university. But this University has DVC military and that will now 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.
“That’s one. Secondly, all the universities in this country have been tailored towards specifics, in the sense that you hardly see somebody from Borno now attending University of Nsukka because the universities have been compartmentalised into regions, States, catchment areas and all that.
“But this particular university is for Nigeria, you can come from anywhere and there is no issue of quota system, no issue of religion and all that. So, that makes it a unifying place for all those that are interested in academics related to the military and like I said in the lead debate, it will provide the civilians’ knowledge of 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 there and they have 39 courses in place now.
“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.”