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Senators divided over discrimination on First Degrees, HND



There was division among some senators on the floor of the Senate during the consideration of a bill seeking to address discrimination between First Degrees and Higher National Diplomas, HND for the purpose of employment and promotion in the country.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP Ondo Central), however, passed second reading during plenary on Wednesday.

While contributing to debate on the bill, some senators were of different views on the issue, noting that the discrimination has affected the productivity of those discriminated against.

The Minority Leader, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, pointed out that instead of debating the bill, federal government should be encouraged to implement what it has already started, adding that the sponsored of the bill said that federal government is already working on it.

He said: “I find it difficult to support what the government is already implementing, because he said that there is a circular to that effect. It is already being done, why are we debating it.

“Since government is already doing it, we have to encourage the government to continue. We should support the government.”

In his own contribution, Senator James Manager (PDP Delta South), pointed out that what the bill sought is a legal framework, lamenting that “I don’t know where this disparity started from. It is unfortunate.”

He, however, said that the Senate will be guided during public hearing.

Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC Sokoto East), on his part added that HND deals in practical, adding that making degrees and HNDs same is like going against what established them.

He said that in promotion, the bar against career progression of HND holders should be removed.

Senator Saidu Ahmed Alkali (APC Gombe North), said that it is absolutely wrong to terminate the appointment of an HND holders at a particular level in his or her career.

Leading debate on the bill, Senator Akinyelure called for harmonization of ranks among officers, adding that promotion of officers should be based on productivities.

He noted that the bill will put an end to discrimination between the HND and degree holders, adding that the discrimination does no one any good, as it discourages HND holders from achieving their potentials.

In his remarks, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over the plenary said, “because of the controversy nature of the bill, I think it is appropriate that we invite at the public hearing professionals to make their contributions.”

He referred the bill to Committees on Establishment, Tertiary Institutions and TETFund, to report back in four weeks.

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