House passes bill to convert Auchi polytechnic to university

The House of Representatives has passed a bill to convert Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State, to a degree-awarding university.

The House Committee of the Whole on Thursday considered the conference committee report on the bill and passed it.

The bill seeks to establish the Federal University of Technology Auchi.

If the Senate concurs with the bill and it is signed into law, the proposed university will take over the structure of Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State.

The House version was sponsored by Johnson Eguma (APC, Edo), while the Senate version was sponsored by Francis Alimikhena (APC, Edo).

Mr Alimikhena’s bill was named City University of Technology, Auchi. It was introduced on 3 October 2019, the second reading was done on 27 November 2019 and passed for a third reading on 15 July 2020.

Mr Eguma’s version was read the first time on 27 November 2019 and read the second time on 2 February 2020. It was subsequently passed in July 2021.

Briefing journalists on the bill, Mr Eguma said the proposed university will not cost the government much because the existing Auchi Polytechnic has all the needed facilities to transit to a university.

“This one will not cost Nigeria anything because we already have the facilities on the ground, we only need a bit. That will expand academic research and others, and also create employment.

“This is not a new university, it is an old and already existing school. They have more than enough facilities to go into a degree awarding,” he said.

Despite the current fiscal situation in Nigeria and the current pitiable state of schools in the country, lawmakers have continued to sponsor bills to establish tertiary institutions.

Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the establishment of four universities in addition to the existing 45 federal universities.

In addition, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) goes on strike at perennial rates over inadequate funding of the schools.

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