Gentlemen of the press,
I am delighted to address you once more on yet another very important issue, this time around concerning tertiary education in the state.
The attention of Zamfara State Government was drawn by a recent publication in an online medium, in which attempts were made to castigate His Excellency, the Governor, Hon (Dr) Bello Moh’d Matawallen Maradun, with a view to discrediting his government.
It is unfortunate that the Online paper has lost focus and allowed itself to become a willing agent of governance distraction and destabilization of Nigeria’s unity and corporate existence through junk journalism and arm chair media practise involving publications of incitement, hate speeches and jumpy unverified stories.
The online medium, now considered by most analysts as an agent of Nigeria’s foreign enemies, after failing to divide Nigeria through it’s earlier attempts of veiled revolution and ENDSARS protests, with the intention of causing disunity among the Nigerian people, has now resorted to intimidating Governors, Ministers and National Legislators with a view to blackmailing them to pay large sums of money to the medium as bribe to supposedly “kill” or cover up libellous stories largely cooked by the paper and their numerous mercenaries.
It is pertinent to inform you that, the paper was under illusion that Governor Bello Matawalle Maradun could be distracted from the good works he has been doing to the people of this state by blackmail and unfounded allegations.
It will be too soon for Nigerians to forget various unpatriotic attempts by the online medium to cause havoc and mayhem in this country.
It is therefore not surprising to see the online medium continuing it’s subversive, unpatriotic attempts and activities by causing hatred and disunity among the peace loving people of this great nation.
Gentlemen of the press, if you could recall, this is not the first time the online medium is making attempt to dent the integrity, dignity and the hard earned political reputation of His Excellency Governor Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun and his government.
It is unfortunate that after failing to execute the foreign assignment given to it to disrupt the Nigerian state, the medium now employs intimidation to take money from politicians to incite people against governments at both national and state levels. Reports reaching us said this medium was paid 1000 US dollars to write this report.
The source which pleaded anonymity said the money was paid through a bureau de change in Lagos to facilitate the publication of this report within the week to coincide with Governor Matawalle’s two years anniversary in office.
Gentlemen of the press, it is pertinent for the Zamfara State Government to address you this evening on the state of higher education in the state. When Gov. Matawalle took over power on May 29th, 2019, the transition committee reported that the state of tertiary education in Zamfara state was at it’s worst state.
In his desire to improve the state of education and youth development, the governor appointed a committee to investigate the entire higher education sector. The committee came up with the following findings on Zamfara State stranded students inherited as at May, 2019:
Crescent University—26 students—N217,000,000.00.Al-Hikma University Illori—25 students—N28,000,000.00. International University of Africa Sudan (2015/2016)—23—N70,000,000.00.About N3 billion Naira owed to WAEC, NECO and NABTEB since 2012.
Over seventy thousand Zamfara state students studying in various institutions within the country were not paid since 2015.All the above have been verified by the current administration and payment have commenced instalmentally.
Regarding the tertiary institutions in the state, the administration of Gov. Matawalle inherited the following high institutions:
Zamfara state Polytechnic Zamfara state college of arts and science, Zamfara state school of Nursing, Zamfara state College of health technologyThe Zamfara state university.
Out of these institutions, none fulfilled the requirements set by various Commissions responsible for their supervision in terms of academics.
The institutions were also facing shortages in terms of salary and welfare of lecturers. There was no required learning facilities in all these institutions, despite the billions of naira said to have been sunk by the previous administration in this sector.
It took the advent of His Excellency, Gov Matawalle’s government to take the following measures and steps:
Providing funds for accreditation of courses at the State College of Education, Maru and State Polytechnic Talata Mafara which has not been done in both schools for close to ten years due to lack of funds.
Payment for more than seventy million naira for land at the state polytechnic, Securing affiliation with two neighbouring universities to enable the State College of Education, Maru to commence degree programmes.
On the state university, based on the report submitted to the government, I will like to categorically state here that, there was nothing called university in existence for the following reasons:There was complete absence of the necessary infrastructure and structures.
Absence of management for both academics and non academics, absence of lecturers, absence of hostels, absence of accommodation for the staff;lack of Principal management staff;Absence of lecture halls, laboratories and libraries.
It is therefore surprising for the writers and the online media to claim that the government of Matawalle has shut down the university.
There is no how students can operate and study in a university without such structures and other basic necessities for study.
Gentlemen of the pen profession, permit me at this juncture to inform you that when Gov. Bello Matawalle took over power, he constituted another committee to advice on the state university matter.
The committee recommended holding on, the establishment of the university, pending the financial improvement of the state.
However, in view of the present administration’s commitment and determination to boost tertiary education in the state, the government order for the continuation of all the processes for its full take-off, if not for the long break due to COVID-19 which forced the federal government to order the shutting down all institutions across the nation to protect and safe people’s lives.
One of those measures was the appointment of management and principal officers of the University.
Securing of TETFUND intervention funds to the tune of N190 Million;Securing of yet another intervention from Tetfund to the tune of N45 million.
Securing and furnishing of a temporary site for the take-off of the university;Securing of befitting student’s hostels.
Take-off grant of N200 million for the university and monthly imprest of N10 million.
Another Federal Government intervention under the NEEDS assessment program of Nigerian Universities.
Securing of yet another intervention to the tune of 450 million, both formal and Zonal tetfund Interventions.
It is pertinent to note at this juncture that admission of students for the 2021 academic season is currently ongoing in the state university.
Let me state here that, the admission of students in 2018 by the then government, was politically motivated, as there were no structures for their studies.
It is therefore astonishing to hear that even the lecturers that were hired from other institutions to teach the students then had to abandon the lectures as none of them was paid his or her entitlements collectively amounting to over 30 million Naira.
Gentlemen, with the above abnormalities and the corona virus pandemic which necessitated the federal government to order for the closure of all institutions across the country, the Zamfara State inclusive, Zamfara state government deem it necessary to review the whole process for the take-off of this institution.
Notwithstanding, I want to use this opportunity to inform the Online paper, one of the critics of His Excellency Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle’s administration, that Governor Matawalle operates an open door policy and welcomes meaningful suggestions to improve upon the successes and achievements of his administration.