President of Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan has charged the Ministry of Defence to supervise the proposed Nigerian Army University and ensure that its courses were military related to avoid duplication.
Lawan made the remarks after a bill for an Act to establish the university in Biu, Borno State passed for a second reading and referred it to the Committee on Army to report back in four weeks.
It would be recalled that the university which has been in operation since August 2018 after it was established by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, matriculated 2,776 students in 2020 which are running 39 programmes in five faculties.
But speaking on the numerous universities being establish even without legislative backing, Lawan said even though the country has National Defense Academy, NDA, Kaduna, Armed Forces Command And Staff College, AFCASC, Jaji and the National Defence College, NDC, added that there was nothing wrong in having an army university but insisted that they should be under one supervision.
“The Nigerian Air Force and the Nigeria Navy soon decide on their universities. The army university should be strictly on army issues,” Lawan said.
“The entire defence related institutions should be under the ministry of defense. The Nigerian Navy and the Nigeria Air Force universities must be established with a clear purpose to avoid duplication,” Lawan said.
In his lead debate, sponsor of the Bill, Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South) said the University was established following an approval by the Federal Executive Council, FEC in August 2018.
According to him,it will be the only university with three Deputy Vice Chancellor, DVC.in academic, administration and Military training.
Ndume, who said Borno should not be neglected because of the Boko Haram crisis, added that the university should have been established in Sambisa forest in order to root-out the terrorists.
He said: “In 2020, the university matriculated 2,776 students running 39 programmes in five faculties to conduct research, entrepreneur skill, promote advancement of knowledge in army hard wire and soft wire.
“The university will be a training institution for technical empowerment, to be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Education and the National University Commission (NUC).
“There won’t be discrimination based on region, state, tribe no race,” Ndume said.
Contributing, Senator Adamu Aliero (APC Kebbi Central) said they are just seeking for legal backing for the university.
Aliero who said the university will promote education within the military, added that the Army University Biu will be the only second military university after NDA.
On his part, Senator Abba Moro (PDP Benue South), said the establishment of the university in Biu would help Nigeria secure its territory.
He said there was need to inculcate good training to the Nigeria military personnel, stressing the need to legalise the institution
On his part, Senator George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East) said the university, if approved would help reduce admission problem in the country.
He said according to the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, 10 million young Nigerians applied for admission but about seven million could not be admitted.
Sekibo suggested that the university should have 70 percent of military science to help the country.
Also, Senator Sam Egwu (PDP Ebonyi North) said that the university should help people to learn military tactics for self defense.
But Senator Francis Fadahunsi (PDP Osun East) noted that the University of Maiduguri is overstretched, adding that the Army university will provide the needed education to the North East.
He said even though the university is already on ground, it will not require more funds if approved by the Senate.
Senator James Manager (PDP Delta South) who frowned on the way and manner institutions been established without legal backing, said the Senate must stop such act.
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