- Umahi advocates recruitment of retired customs officers to check rice smuggling
The Senate has passed an amendment to the law establishing the National Open University, which will make graduates of the institution eligible for mobilisation by the National Youth Service Corps and to attend the Nigerian Law School.
The passage followed the adoption of a report by the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund on the ‘Bill for An Act to Amend the National Open University Act Cap N6 LFN 1983 (Amendment) Bill 2017’ by the lawmakers at the plenary on Thursday.
In the report, the Senate panel stated that the amendment to the National Open University of Nigeria Act was to bring the institution at par with the regular universities in the country.
The report said, “The objectives of the bill are as follows: firstly, to amend the existing legislation with a view to removing the perception of the public about the university in respect of the word ‘correspondence,’ which gives the impression that the university is not a full-time university and, as such, seen as part-time.
“These two concepts – correspondence and part-time – significantly affect the way the public views the programs run by the university. This has been the reason why the Law graduates of the school are not admitted into the Nigerian Law School as well as the reason for the non-inclusion of the graduates of the university into the National Youth Service Corps scheme.
“Secondly, to include lnformation and Communication Technology as another means of providing tuition towards the advancement of learning throughout Nigeria. The National Open University, as currently run, depends critically on virtual learning and students’ individual research, hence, the need for improvement and introduction of helpful learning tools as presented by lCT. This will further deal with the challenge of limited access in the tertiary education sector.”
In the meantime, Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has called on the Federal Government to engage the services of retired customs officers with integrity in order to check the rising cases of rice smuggling in the counrty.
Umahi, a member of the Presidential Taskforce on Rice and Wheat, who addressed newsmen on Friday in Abakaliki, expressed regret over the persistent incidences of rice smuggling in the country.
He advised the Federal Government to station the retired officers with integrity at the borders and install wireless Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras to monitor activities at the borders.
“I do not believe that the issue of smuggling is a problem, sometimes, the Federal Government doesn’t want to act.
“Install wireless CCTV in some of the border locations and constitute customs officials that have retired into committees to man the borders, they will do very well, it is a question of interest.’’
The governor called on the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to extend its enforcement drive to the markets to verify duties paid by rice importers.
“With the argument of whether we produce enough rice to meet our demands, the Zero Hunger and Presidential Task Force on Rice, was being lobbied to allow importation of certain percentage.
“They said that there is no rice in the state but we said no.
“We suggested that the security agents should go round the rice milling locations and find out whether there was any day that there were more customers than supplies.
“Since then, nobody has been able to prove that, and this means that what we produce is able to feed and sustain the nation.
“I call for a complete stoppage of foreign rice importation into the country,’’ the governor added.
Umahi, who described foreign rice as `chaff’, expressed regret over the increasing rate of kidney and liver diseases in the county.
The governor advised citizens to stop the consumption of foreign rice as it was detrimental to health.
Additional report from Citizen