Posted by News Express | 17 December 2017 | 1,392 times
The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, has lambasted the Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education, Aminu Suleiman, over his threat to close down Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe.
The Chairman, IYC, Central Zone, Mr. Tari Porri, at a news conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, on Saturday, demanded an unreserved apology from Suleiman to the Ijaw people for the threat.
Suleiman, who represents Fagge Federal Constituency, Kano State, had reportedly threatened to close down the institution during his committee’s oversight visit, alleging that the school was occupied by rats and lizards and not students and staff.
Porri said that the statement of Suleiman was not a true representation of the state of the institution, noting that the federal polytechnic was one of the best polytechnics in the country.
The IYC leader condemned the lawmaker’s disparaging comment, saying that Suleiman’s position was unfortunate, wicked, unthinkable and misplaced.
Porri said: “I want to disagree with the statement of Suleiman in its entirety and also warn that the quietness of Ijaw people, the peace that is currently prevailing in the Niger Delta region should not be taken for granted, especially the people of Ijaw extraction in the Central Zone.
“That institution was given to the Ijaw people as a result of their agitation. Federal Polytechnic Ekowe is one institution that we hold very dearly to our hearts and as such, we will not allow any individual, whether under the guise of National Assembly or whatever name called, to deceive Nigerians.
“I visited that institution after I was inaugurated Chairman of the IYC Central Zone, and I want to make bold to say that that institution is one of the best federal polytechnics in this country,” Porri said.
He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to discard whatever the lawmaker said, insisting that his biased report did not represent the facts on the ground.
He urged the lawmaker not to take the quietness and the peaceful disposition of the Ijaw nation for granted, warning him to stop blackmailing the institution or face the wrath of the people.
Porri added: “We are saying that the quietness, the peaceful disposition of Ijaw people should not be taken for granted. They are talking about budget; where are they expecting money to fund their budget?
“Without Niger Delta, where will they get the budget for this country? The budget of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is got from the Niger Delta and the lawmaker is calling for the cancellation of an institution that is sited in our region.
“We are also calling on the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives to note that the position of Aminu Suleiman is not the true reflection of what is happening in the state.
“We have been told that there are clear plans to prevent Federal Polytechnic Ekowe from taking part of the budget for 2018. But of course, the Federal Government knows what Ijaw people can do, so we are using this opportunity to call on the National Assembly not to listen to his position.
“The institution is being starved of funding. It is still confronted by ecological challenges, yet he did not see the challenges of the institution and how the Federal Government could address them.
“Let me remind Nigerians that Federal Polytechnic Ekowe is the least funded of the institutions in the country despite all the money being taken from Southern Ijaw where the institution is located.”
The IYC boss added that the statement was a gross disrespect to the Ijaw nation, advising him not to provoke Ijaw people to anger.
He urged the government to increase the allocation to the polytechnic, wondering why N7.7bn should be allocated to Kaduna Polytechnic and other polytechnics in the North, yet only a paltry sum of N1.1bn was allocated to Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe.
He stressed: “Kaduna that is not adding any value to the revenue of this country is given N7.7bn; Kaduna has a refinery that is not producing oil and has over 10 institutions, is it our few institutions in Ijaw land they are trying to cancel? They must not try Ijaw people and this persecution must stop. Ijaw people have done well for this country.
“Today, Nigeria is currently getting nothing less than 1.8 million barrels of crude oil per day from Ijaw land. They should not provoke Ijaw people; we will no longer keep quiet. Of course, the President knows what Ijaw people can do. We are calling on him because we know he is ever ready to partner with Ijaw people and we are also ready to partner him.”
Porri said that the claim by Suleiman that the institution was allocated over N4bn was a blatant lie, insisting that only N1.1bn was allocated to the institution.
He said in spite of the small allocation to the school, only 35 per cent was released for overhead cost for the running of the institution while 65 per cent was allegedly withheld.
He further said: “The relevant authorities should call on Suleiman to apologise to the Ijaw people because our own, former President Goodluck Jonathan, established Almajiri schools in the North and other institutions.
“Nobody is calling for the cancellation of Almajiri schools in the North. Why should he be calling for the cancellation of our own institution. He should be warned. Nothing should happen to the institution in any guise.”
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