Nigerian Senate passes Bill to establish soil science Institute

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday passed a Bill to establish the Institute of soil science research, with the mandate to regulate and standardise activities in the area of soil research across the country.

This follows the consideration of the report of the Senate committee on Agriculture and Rural Development which concluded the process of the legislation last week, precisely on the 2nd of June, 2016.

According to the Chairman of the committee, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the new law would help Nigeria to achieve the need for food security by eliminating the acts of indiscriminate use of fertilizers without ascertaining their suitability to the soil.

President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki while applauding the emergence of the Law, expressed the hope that it would improve investors’ confidence in the Agriculture sector.

Maritime University Bill

Following the Presidential pronouncement of past administration of Goodluck Jonathan to establish Maritime University of Nigeria at Okerenkoko in Delta State, the proposal on Wednesday suffered setback as the Bill supporting it which was brought by Senator James Manager (PDP), Delta Central Senatorial District failed on the floor of the Senate.

Senator Manager explained that the establishment of Maritime University would produce manpower in the Maritime industry, a situation that past administration couched on, in order to come up with that proposal.

“A Bill for an Act to establish the Maritime University of Nigeria, Okerenkoko and for other matters connected therein”, Manager proposed.

After his presentation, Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West Senatorial District was the first to shut down the proposal by maintaining that it would have been proper for the existing Nigeria Maritime Academy, Oron in Akwa Ibom to be upgraded instead establishing new one so as to save cost.

In the same vein, Senator Binta Garba posited that the terrain of the proposed University was unsuitable, noting that it was improper to take a boat and travel on waters for 30 minutes before reaching the place.

However, Nelson Effiong, Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District in his contribution, reminded the Senate that the Maritime Academy at Oron which situates in his Senatorial District that have trained Seafarers in the last 30years of its existence was approved by former President GoodLuck Jonathan and that it has since been with National Universities Commission.

He was emphatic that government should work on the approval in order to upgrade rather than starting fresh one for economic reasons.

“The National Maritime Academy at Oron has been operating for 30 years and based on the track record, former President Jonathan approved its upgrade to a University status and the approval has been with NUC”, Effiong pointed.

Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani on his part envisaged security challenges because of isolation of the environment, stressing that Oron should be upgraded.

“A University needs serene and peaceful environment and this one cannot be situated at Okerenkoko”, Sani pointed.

Former governor of Akwa Ibom State and Minority Leader of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio revealed that his administration did relocate land owners with compensation following government’s willingness to upgrade Maritime Academy at Oron.

He reasoned that the Academy which has trained professionals in Maritime industry should be allowed a degree awarding institution.

When it became obvious that the bill has suffered Setback, James Manager withdrew the bill, promising that it will be represented at the appropriate time.

Keshi’s Demise

Meanwhile, the Senate also on Wednesday, described as “shocking” the news of the death of former captain and chief coach of the super eagles, Stephen keshi. After mourning the late Keshi who won the Nations Cup both as a player and coach, the Senate President called on the Nigerian government to immortalize the Delta state born footballer.