A bill seeking to establish the Federal University of Environment Technology in Ogoniland of Rivers State, on Wednesday passed second reading in the Senate.
Leading debate on the bill, Senator Barinada Mpigi (PDP Rivers South East), said if approved by the Senate, the university will be established in Saakpenwa, Ogoniland, adding that it would provide the manpower needed to tackle the environmental degradation in the area.
He further explained that the instruction, when established would “capture and mainstream the ideals of UNEP recommendations and help in confidence building and cementing relationship with community leadership and give opportunities to the youths and women to better understand the relationship between technology, environmental pollution and environmental protection not only in Ogoni but in the entire Niger Delta region and Nigeria in general in order to combat the threat of ecology and climate change.”
Mpigi added that it will also provide for the institutional requirements for running a world class environmental technology institution by catering for learning and research needs of its prospective students and researchers in Nigeria and beyond.
“I want to reiterate that when this bill is enacted into law, the Federal University of Environmental Technology, Saalpenwa Ogoni, Rivers State will be the first in Africa in these areas of learning and knowledge as a specialized University.
“Again as we are aware, the Ogoni struggle has earned international recognition and reputation. And thus there are available willing partners and buy-ins from international organizations and individuals especially those with bias in nature conservation and environmental protection to support take off of the University,” he stressed.
Mpigi submitted that Rivers State government has expressed support for the institution by providing a modern state of the arts facility at Saakpewa for the immediate take off while the host community have also interest to donate lands for the university.
Contributing, Senator Sandy Onor called on his colleagues to support the bill because the establishment of Environment University is of good importance not only to Ogoniland, but the entire Nigeria.
Also supporting the bill, Senator Barau Jibrin, said the university would also train professionals who would tackle the erosion problems in the South and desertification in the North.
In his submission, Senator Ibikunle Amosun said the university would help in protecting environmental challenges adding that the establishment of the university would also reduce youth restiveness.
After exhaustive debate on the bill, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND to report in four weeks.
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