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Jonathan calls for recalibration of Nigeria’s educational system

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A former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has called for the recalibration of the nation’s educational system to focus more on technology and innovation.

Jonathan made the call during the Founder’s Day Colloquium to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Igbinedion University, established on May 10, 1999, as Nigeria’s premier private university.

The colloquium, with the theme, “Re-Imagining Tertiary Education for Africa’s Present and Future Reality”, was held at the university’s main auditorium in Okada on Friday.

Jonathan described the focus on acquiring only certificates as damaging to the economy.

He stressed that the attitude should be discouraged by emphasising knowledge and skills acquisition to produce graduates that would pilot the economy.

“I want to congratulate the founder of this university and say that because of the success of the university, successive governments gave licences to other private universities to operate.

“There is always resistance when one starts something new, but with your commitment and dedication, your efforts in the last 25 years are commendable.

“All founders of private universities in Nigeria need to celebrate you for opening the door for them,” he said.

According to him, Nigeria needs to recalibrate its educational system, right from the primary school level to produce people who are technologically savvy to pilot the economy.

The former president thanked the former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsami Abubakar, for approving the licence of the private university.

Also, Abubakar, who was instrumental in the establishment of the university, said Igbinedion University had immensely contributed to the growth and development of Nigeria in almost every sector.

He congratulated the Chancellor and Founder of the university, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, for the foresight to pursue a private university licence 25 years ago.

Meanwhile, Igbinedion thanked dignitaries for coming to celebrate with him, saying that the university had impacted lives positively in Nigeria.

Igbinedion, who specifically thanked Abubakar for the honour done him, said that 25 years down the line, graduates from the institution had continued to excel in their various fields.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the university, Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, disclosed that students of the institution were exposed to entrepreneurial and skills acquisition modules.

This, he said, was to make them become job providers in the world.

The VC disclosed that the student population had grown steadily from 115 at inception in 1999 to over 5,000, adding that the staff strength had also increased from 55 at inception to 803.

“At 25, it is significant to note that the brilliant exploits of our Blue-sky graduates in their various fields of endeavour across the globe evidenced the quality of our products,” he said.

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Senate summons Minister of Education over stranded Nigerian students abroad

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The Senate, on Tuesday, summoned the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, and the leadership of the Federal Scholarship Board over the delay in the payment of outstanding grants to Nigerian students stranded in other countries.

The Senate also urged the Federal Government to impose appropriate sanctions on officials responsible for the pain and suffering the students are going through.

This is just as the upper legislative chamber said Prof. Tahir would provide a detailed report on the status of all Nigerian students under international scholarship programmes including a breakdown of their unpaid entitlements.

The Senate in plenary on Tuesday also urged its President, Godswill Akpabio, to, as a matter of urgency, “carry out a holistic investigation into the matter and ensure that necessary measures are taken to rectify this situation promptly.”

The resolution of the Senate followed a motion on a matter of urgent importance moved by the lawmaker representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, Salihu Mustapha.

He said, “These scholarships are part of a broader initiative to promote specialised education through partnerships with foreign institutions, facilitated by entities such as the Federal Scholarship Board under the Federal Ministry of Education.

“This initiative supports the government’s commitment to Bilateral Education Agreements and Multilateral Agreements with the Commonwealth and other international partners.

“There are reports of Nigerian students facing hardships in Algeria, China, Morocco, Russia and the United Kingdom due to non-payment of tuition and living stipends, leading to negative media coverage and national embarrassment.

“The recurrence of these issues suggests systemic failures, despite previous interventions by this distinguished chamber to prevent such situations.”

He added, “The Federal Government’s failure to meet its financial commitments under these international agreements for over ten months, will jeopardise the welfare and academic progress of the affected students.

“The failure to fulfil these obligations not only undermines our national reputation but also poses significant diplomatic concerns and risks pushing our students towards unlawful activities to sustain their livelihood abroad.”

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Shettima, Atiku, others attend Lamorde’s burial in Abuja

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Dignitaries from various walks of life gathered at the National Mosque in Abuja on Tuesday to pay their last respects to a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Lamorde.

Vice President Kashim Shettima; National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar were among those who attended Lamorde’s  Jannazah (funeral prayer).

Also in attendance were the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum and the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintri, among others.

PUNCH Online earlier reported the burial schedule as announced by a former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on his X handle.

The former EFCC boss died at the age of 61 in Egypt while undergoing medical treatment on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Atiku has prayed that Allah grant the deceased eternal rest.

Taking to his X, he posted, “It was with a heavy heart that I joined the funeral prayer for the late Ibrahim Lamorde at the National Mosque this afternoon.

“I pray that his family and friends be comforted. May Allah SWT forgive his sins and grant him a peaceful return. Amin.”

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Senate passes bill to reintroduce old national anthem

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The Senate has passed the bill seeking to make provision for Nigeria to revert to its old national anthem.

The Upper Chamber passed the bill following deliberations on a report presented by Tahir Monguno, the chair of the judiciary committee.

The Senate decision followed that of the House of Representatives which earlier passed the bill.

The old anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was replaced with the current one “Arise, O Compatriots in 1978.

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