7 June 2012

Nigeria: UNILAG - Jonathan Sends Bill On Name Change to National Assembly

Photo: Aliyu Adekunle
Second day of protest by students.

President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday sent a bill to the National Assembly seeking to formalise the renaming of University of Lagos (Unilag) after the late acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Bashorun Moshood Abiola.

The gesture, the government said, was in recognition of Abiola's contributions and sacrifice for democracy in Nigeria.

Two other bills were also presented to the Senate at plenary on the same subject but for different institutions.

The other bills were requests to rename two other universities namely Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike and Federal University of Technology, Yola.

They are now to be known as Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, and Modibo Adama University of Technology, Yola, respectively.

The Federal Government had on May 29, announced that Unilag had been renamed Moshood Abiola University of Lagos, a pronouncement that triggered wild protests from the students and lecturers of the institution.

The decision also generated mixed reactions from members of the academia, lawyers and the civil society.

Some members of the National Assembly also faulted the renaming of Unilag as they argued that the action did not follow due process.

But in a letter dated June 5, 2012 and addressed to the President of the Senate, David Mark, Jonathan sought the cooperation of the parliament in the passage of the three bills.

The Senate also received two other bills. They include the "Bill for an Act to Provide for the Enforcement and Punishment of Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes, Genocide and Related Offences" and a "Bill for an Act to Amend the Public Procurement Act No 14, 2007."

Also Wednesday, the Senate confirmed the nomination of six persons to serve as Chairman and members of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

The confirmation followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Works and approval of its recommendations by the Senate at the Committee of the Whole.

Those confirmed to be on the board of the agency included Mr. Ezekiel Olajide Adeniji (Chairman), Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Gusau, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), Mr. Uba Maigari, Mr. Olatunji Shelle and Mr. Samuel Gwomma. Ambassador Jerry Ugokwe, who was previously nominated to join the board, reportedly withdrew from the process and a fresh nominee is expected to be sent to the Senate at a later date.

The Senate has also confirmed the appointment of Mrs Martina Odom as a member of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

This followed the consideration and adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation on the screening of the nominees.

Similarly, the Senate has confirmed the appointment of Dr. Sarah Omotunde Alade as a Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions had in its report stated that it found Alade suitable for the position in the course of its screening of the nominee.

Meanwhile, the Senate has suspended all celebrations to mark the first anniversary of the inauguration of the 7th session of the National Assembly.

Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, who disclosed this Wednesday, said the suspension of the celebration was in honour of the victims of the Dana Airline crash.

Ndoma-Egba, who briefed the media alongside the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said it would be insensitive on the part of the lawmakers to roll out the drums at a period of national mourning.

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