3 Senators from Ebonyi State appear before Senate Committee on Public Petitions
Senate Orders Ministry of Education to submit its memo within a week
BY OBUTE JAMES
The Nigerian Senate through its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition has given stakeholders in Ebonyi State 2 weeks to resolve the crisis over the location of newly approved Federal College of Education in Isu, Onicha LGA of Ebonyi State.
The Senate committee resolution followed a controversies being generated by the petition of Senator Samuel Egwu challenging the location of the FCE in Ebonyi South Senatorial District instead of his own Senatorial District, Ebony North.
FCE Isu is one of the six Federal College of Education recently announced by President Muhammadu Buhari Administration to take off in the six geo-political zones of the country.
Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition headed by Senator Patrick Ayo Akinyelure met on Thursday May 28 over the petition challenging the location of the FCE in Isu. and adjourned to Thursday June 4 to enable the petitioners and respondents appear before the committee.
All the Senators from the state appeared before the committee on Thursday when the matter was heard.
Senator Samuel Egwu the former Governor of Ebonyi State and current Representative of Ebonyi North Senatorial District in a petition dated 18th May, 2020 and submitted to the Senate on 19th May, 2020 with reference NASS/9SEN/CVR-LET03/18/05/2020 requested the Senate’s intervention to ensure the approved Federal College Education Isu, Ebonyi South Senatorial District is transferred to Ebonyi North Senatorial District on the ground that “Ebonyi North Senatorial District does not currently host any federal institution”
But responding to the petition, Senator Michael Ama Nnachi , representing Ebonyi South Senatorial District argued that since his senatorial district was carved out from Abia and Imo States to become part of Ebonyi State, no state or federal institution was sited in his zone.
Nnachi also said contrary to the position of the petitioner, Ebonyi North have over 50 federal and state institutions sited in the zone.
Other Senators warned the Ebonyi elite against the danger of dragging the issue too far.
Senator Godfrey Chukwuka Utazi representing Enugu North Senatorial District also noted that it is not proper for them to wash their dirty clothes in the public.
Senator Joseph Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central) also agreed that the matter should be settled within the stakeholders in the state instead of continuous washing of their dirty clothes in the public.
The memo by the respondents, comprising several groups in the Ebonyi South Senatorial District, described as unfortunate the moves by Senator Sam Egwu and few others kicking against the establishment of FCE in Isu.
“It is a fact that Onicha Local Government Area is the largest Local Government in Ebonyi State both in terms of land mass and population (estimated to be over 400,000), however, despite the very important nature of the Local Government and potentials in Isu clan, no single Federal Government or even State Government project has been sited there.
“It is therefore with unbelievable indignation that our attention was drawn to the petition before this Distinguished Committee calling for the relocation of the Federal College of Education, Isu in Ebonyi South to Izzi land in Ebonyi North. It is pertinent to know that Ebonyi North which HE Senator Sam Egwu represents is already an urban area, hosting the State Capital and about 80% of all Federal and State Governments’ Institutions, Ministries, Agencies and parastatals in Ebonyi State.
“In their very unfortunate and mischievous attempt to mislead the Nigerian Senate, the Federal Ministry of Education and indeed the Nigerian public, the petitioners had made claims that Ebonyi North Senatorial zone does not have Federal Government institutions.
“Consequently, we the Isu Elite wish to set the records straight and state the facts that the Ebonyi North Senatorial District is already saturated with Federal and State Government institutions, Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals, numbering over 50,” a group known as Old Afikpo Union said.
The respondents statement which was signed by Prof. Ogbonnaya Ogbu, Chief Sunday Chukwu, Dr. Livinus Okpara Nwonu, Barr. Vitalis Ude-Umanta and Chief Linus Njoku further said:
“Distinguished Senators, we the Isu Elite, hereby appeal to you to disregard Senator Sam Egwu’s petition as it is obviously intended to mislead the Senate and the Federal Government of Nigeria as the Ebonyi North Senatorial District is already well taken care of in all forms of government presence.
“We therefore, appeal to the Nigerian Senate to join us and thank President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Ministry of Education for establishing the Federal College of Education in Isu, Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State as it is in line with the constitutional provisions of Federal Character Principle.
“The Federal College of Education, Isu should remain at Isu as already approved by our Leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.”
According to the group, below are the list of Federal Government Institutions, Agencies, Ministries and Parastatals in Ebonyi North Senatorial Zone which Senator Egwu represents:
1. The Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital (two large complexes, FETHA I and FETHA II)
2. The National Obstetric Fistula Centre (A medical Centre of Excellence and Regional Training Centre);
3. Federal Government Girls College, Ezzangbo
4. Ebonyi State University, EBSU, Abakaliki (4 Large Campuses –Ishieke, Permanent Site, PRESCO Campus, CAS Campus, all of them located within the Ebonyi North Senatorial District)
5. The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN (this includes and ultra-modern complex in addition to the old one)
6. Ultra-modern permanent new complex of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS
7. Ebonyi State Pipe Production Company
8. Ebonyi State Fertilizer Production Complex
9. Proposed National Raw Materials Research Institute
10. School Health Technology, Ngbo
11. The Ultra-modern and the largest State Secretariat in the Southeast of Nigeria, the Centenary City, Abakaliki
12. The Ebonyi State old and New Government Houses both in Abakaliki
13. The Nigeria Army Cantonment, Nkwagu, Abakaliki
14. The Command Secondary School, Abakaliki
15. The Federal High Court, Abakaliki
16. The Headquarters of the Nigeria Police, Ebonyi State Command, Abakaliki
17. The Ebonyi State Command, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC
18. The Ebonyi State Command Headquarters, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC
19. The Headquarters of the Ebonyi State Command of the Department of State Services (DSS)
20. The National Examinations Council, NECO
21. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, NAFDAC
22. Nigeria Metrological Agency
23. Ebonyi state Headquarters of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC
24. Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, Abakaliki
25. Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Abakaliki
26. The Nigeria Immigration Service, Abakaliki
27. The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Abakaliki
28. The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN Unity FM), Abakaliki
29. Federal Housing Authority Estate, Ezzangbo
30. School of Health, Ezzangbo
31. All the State offices of all Federal government agencies in Ebonyi state are located in Ebonyi North Senatorial Zone.
Senator ruled that the stakeholders in the state have two weeks to settle the difference and forward their report to his committee in order to allow his committee also submit its report to the entire Senate.
He also warned of the consequences of continuous disagreement over the location of FCE in Ebonyi State.
The committee also ordered the Federal Ministry of Education to submit its memo or presentation on the issue within a week.