…again, appeals to PMB to assent to bill

Cross River youths under the auspices of the Greater Ogoja Development Initiative (GODI) on Tuesday reenacted it’s appealto President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill seeking the establishment of the Federal University of Technology, Ogoja (FUTO) passed by the National Assembly, saying over 5,000 direct jobs will be created.

The youth group stated this through it’s spokesperson, Prof Odey Osha in Abuja at a World Press conference tagged “Making the Voice of Northern Cross River Count’’, where it further enumerated the many advantages of siting such institution in the region.

He said the bill seeking the establishment of the university had been passed by both chambers of the 8th National Assembly and stressed that it has less than 10 days for it to expire.

He said the institution was paramount to the people of Ogoja who were desirous of accessing quality education to drive nation-building. It is an axiomatic fact that knowledge will forever govern ignorance.

“The fact that you have an avalanche of requests for establishment of tertiary institutions does not vitiate the imperativeness of citizens’ desire for education.

“The passage of the bill is necessary to address the teething challenges faced by Nigerians in their respective geographical locations,’’ he said.

Osha, who is the dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, University of Calabar, Cross River State, added that the northern fringes of the old Ogoja province configured into Bekwarra, Obanliku, Obudu, Ogoja and Yala Local Government Areas of the state had resolved that the University be established in Ogoja. He disclosed that land had been provided for the purpose.

Ogoja was promised a University as early as 1975 and surreptitiously short-changed by the powers that be on the ground of a minor disagreement between the host communities.

“Today, we have come of age to ask for what is rightly our own. Ogoja has been greatly marginalised in terms of federal tertiary education,’’ he said.

Osha noted that the establishment of the university would not only benefit the people of Ogoja but also serve as a catchment university to the people of Enugu, Benue, Ebonyi and Taraba states.

It would be recalled that the Federal University of Technology Ogoja Bill was sponsored by the Rt Hon Jarigbe Agom in the 8th National Assembly.

The Coordinator of the initiative in Abuja, Mr Akoli Godwin, said that the establishment of a University in Ogoja would add to the development in the socio-economic activities of the people.

According to him, from Ogoja to Calabar, the state capital is 304 km, a far distance to anyone seeking knowledge within the state.

He said, if established, the University would create 6,000 direct jobs, thereby reducing the unemployment rate in the country.

Also lending his voice in support of the movement, Supervisory Councillor for Environment, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Hon Gabriel Bravo Oluohu, while appealing to Mr President, stated that the need for his assent cannot be overemphasized, considering the attendant impact on the people of old Ogoja province and indeed the South-South sub-region of the country.

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