A Bill for establishment of University of Environmental Studies and Agriculture in Ogoni land passed second reading yesterday at the Senate of the National Assembly.
The private member Bill is sponsored by Senator Magnus Abe, representing Rivers South-East in the upper chamber of Nigeria’s bicameral legislature.
Senator Abe had, during the visit of Senate Committee on Environment chaired by Senator Oluremi Tinubu on oversight function to Ogoni land in November 2017 made a very strong case for the Federal Government of Nigeria to convert the proposed Center of Excellence which is a key recommendation in the Implementation of UNEP report on Ogoni land, to a full fledged university where studies and critical research work on the environment and agriculture will be carried out.
Abe had followed that up with an intelligent op-ed published at the Back Page of Thisday Newspaper in which he beautifully summarized what the Senate Committee found during their oversight visit to Ogoni land, what the Federal Government should do to fast track the implementation of the UNEP report and why the Center of Excellence should be converted to a university to stand as an enduring monument for the study of the environment and a testament to the struggle for environmental justice in Nigeria.
During plenary at the Senate yesterday, second reading of the Bill passed smoothly amid roaring encomiums from distinguished Senators from all parts of the country for the idea.
It’s expected that with such inviting disposition towards the Bill, it will be passed by the Senate with the dispatch it requires.
When that is done, it will represent one of the greatest achievements, not only of the 8th Senate, but of the Buhari Presidency when the bill is finally assented to. It will also send a clear message to Nigerians and the world at large that non-violent agitation can pay great dividends and that Nigerians do not have to carry arms before they are given a listening ear.
There is surely something in this Bill for everybody, and its our hope that it will pass because of its national significance.