A public hearing on government’s efforts to convert the Rivers State College of Arts and Science (RivCAS) to Port Harcourt Polytechnic, holds today at the State Assembly’s Main auditorium.
The Port Harcourt Polytechnic Bill, 2016, is a bill for a law for the conversion of RivCAS to Port Harcourt Polytechnic, and to transfer the staff and properties of the former and other matters incidental thereto to the Polytechnic.
Leader of the State House of Assembly, who is also Chairman of the House Committee on Education, Hon. Martins Chike-Amaewhule at the weekend invited stakeholders to the public hearing to ensure a qualitative debate and positive outcome.
In a statement in Port Harcourt, the Education Committee advised interested stakeholders to obtain copies and submit memoranda to Room 012 (2nd Floor), Rivers State House of Assembly Complex, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt on or before 10 am, today.
Meanwhile, the RIVCAS Students Union Government and the leadership of National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS) have in separate reactions, hailed the efforts of the state government to expand the frontiers of higher education in the state.
Both bodies commended the Governor Nyesom Wike-led Rivers State Government for the discretion, and urged it to pursue the scheme to its logical and positive conclusion.
The Tide gathered that the conversion of the RIVCAS to a Polytechnic enjoys tremendous support among Rivers people who believe that it would help reduce the number of out-of-school youth in the state, after every admission season.
Also, the Rivers State chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has supported the decision of the Rivers State Government to convert the state College of Arts and Science (RIVCAS) into a polytechnic for the purpose of enhancing the state’s capacity to produce technical manpower to support economic and industrial development.
In a statement in Port Harcourt, at the weekend, the state TUC Chairman, Comrade Hyginus Chika Onuegbu, said “it is important to state that there is nothing absolutely wrong with the proposed the conversion of the Rivers State College of Arts and Science to Port Harcourt Polytechnic or even a full-fledged university.
“Consequently, we support the move by the Rivers State Government and the Rivers State House of Assembly to do so”, Onuegbu said.
His reasons for the support include the fact that, “Rivers State needs more institutions of higher learning, and at this very difficult time, it is far cheaper to convert an existing institution than build a brand new one.
“Moreover both the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) and Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUA) were similarly converted to their current status,” the TUC chairman noted.
The TUC argued that “from interactions with lecturers in the Rivers State College of Arts and Science,” it was revealed that “the institution has been operating as a polytechnic,” adding that it was “only natural that the government formalises that status.
“We, therefore, support the conversion of the Rivers State College of Arts and Science to Port Harcourt Polytechnic,” he stressed.
The TUC chairman however, urged the Rivers State Government to, upon the conversion, expeditiously ensure that all its programmes are duly accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) as a full-fledged polytechnic.
It also called on the State Government to put machinery in motion to attract the establishment of private universities and polytechnics in Rivers State, in line with what obtains in Ogun, Lagos, among others, so as to bridge the huge gap in the number of tertiary educational institutions to meet increasing demands of the rising population of seekers of higher education in Rivers State.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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