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NAUB: Prayers of our enemies shall not come to pass.

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NAUB: Prayers of our enemies shall not come to pass.

By: Dr. James BWALA

When the bill for the establishment of the Nigerian Army University Biu was taken to the National Assembly, VP Kashim Shettima, then as Senator representing Borno Central in the red chamber, added his voice in support of the establishment. He was among the top voices who spoke to make the university come to light by giving the university the legal instrument that established it. The VP, then governor of Borno State, is the one who speedily granted the approval of the site and delivered the C of O of the site when General Buratai came up with the idea of the university. 

Certainly those who came up with the idea to merge the Army University Biu with the Nigerian Defense Academy did not consult widely before reaching the decision, and we are hopeful that the prayers of these enemies of Borno State, the northeast, and Nigeria will not come to pass. We are also confident and firmly believe in our unity and loyalty to our leaders that they will see the reasons for the existence of this great institution that has continued to give direction to our mass of youths who seek education through the university.

The President and his Vice President are men of integrity who love education, especially for the children of the masses. They are aware of the benefits these children of Nigeria are getting through the army university, blending character and learning in the most civil and regimented system. As our governor pleaded alongside many other Borno indigenes of note, we are praying for the president to give a listening ear to those pleas for the future of the children of Borno State, the northeast, and Nigeria.

READ ALSO:https://newsng.ng/borno-residents-raised-concern-over-plans-to-return-idps-after-iswap-attacked-governor-zulum-convoy-in-malam-fatori/

Those who are bent on the idea that the university must be merged are like those who did not want it to be established in Borno and in Biu in the first place. But they never care to learn why the Army University of Biu was established in the first place. The understanding of some Nigerians perhaps prior to the establishment of the Nigerian Army University Biu was either lopsided in their regional beliefs or in their political thinking or born out of outward envy to attempt to deny the people of northeast Nigeria the opportunity to have such an outstanding university that brought glory to the region and Nigeria as a whole. Today, not only the children of the northeast are the beneficiaries of the Nigerian Army University Biu, but largely students from the southwest and southeast, south-south, northwest, and north-central parts of the country.

I recalled having a chat with some of the staff of NAUB, sometimes in late 2022, where the discussion led to how the funding of the university was almost becoming an issue under the former COAS, the late General Ibrahim Attahiru. It was at that time that I also learned of certain plans by some forces working against NAUB for their political and regional interests, and I was not surprised when certain questions about the merger issues came up in the Steve Oronsaye report. The sighting of NAUB has been fought against, but Biu struggles. Thanks to the support given by sons and daughters of the northeast, who stood to defend the establishment of the army university in Biu,.

While the cracks were on about the Steve Oronsaye report, I went back to the argument on the floor of the National Assembly to revisit earlier arguments about the establishment of the Army University Biu. I took the case of Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abont and Hon. Kingsley Chinda, both of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. They kicked against the establishment of the university, seeing the institution as a ground for military training, with the NDA in focus throughout their argument on the floor of the green chambers. Comparing their argument with the explanations put forth as to why the Army University Biu was established, I realized that the two Hon. Members were not armed with the right information as to why the Army wanted such a university in place, in parallel to the NDA, which is a purely military institution for regimental purposes.

When the President’s Special Adviser on Policy Coordination, Hadiza Bala-Usman, announced the agencies to be merged to include the merger of the Army University Biu and the Nigerian Defence Academy, there was a lot of roar from the northeast part of the country, with thousands of people who are directly or indirectly beneficiaries of this establishment pouring out their reservations on the adoption of the Steve Oronsaye report by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, particularly with the mention of the Army University Biu being one of the universities in the country that does not go on strike.

Some people who commented have this to say: We can’t afford to lose the NAUB; the effort and energy our leaders put into establishing it can never go in vain, Insha’Allah. Blame the defense ministers from the north-west; they’ve always been against NAUB. The greatest undoing of a democratic government is to clamp down, merge, or relegate a vibrant, important, and exceptionally good tertiary institution that is located in a disadvantageous state or state that needs education, a state that was ravaged by Boko Haram,… What happens to Admiralty University? Is it not a military university? Or is it a private holding of the Nigerian Navy devoid of FG funding? Why has it not been merged with the NDA? Any explanation to defy this? Answers to these would clarify premature assumptions on the need or otherwise for the merger. On a literal perspective, NDA, NAUB, and AFIT are funded by FG. Why NAUB? These are the questions trending. 

But the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, had last year, while speaking during the graduation of some 500 students, given an explanation of why the Army University Biu was established. He explained that the Nigerian Army University in Biu, Borno State, was established as a means to explore a non-kinetic approach to service operations against insurgency. He also said the institution was established to achieve social inclusion, gender balance, and expand diversity through education. The COAS, who is also the Pro-Chancellor of the institution, disclosed that by establishing the Nigerian Army University in Biu, the Army adopted the strategic option of exploring a non-kinetic approach to its counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria.

According to him, the Army sought to achieve social inclusion and gender balance and expand diversity through education, adding that the emergence and growth of the institution in the heart of the North East was a testament to the successes the Nigerian military has collectively achieved in its counter-insurgency efforts. I hope that the COAS, at this time of debate, will add his voice to the plea by Governor Babagana Umara Zulum and the highly respected leaders of Borno to press on the president to see the reasons in this matter and to know the hands of Jacob from those of Esau.

* James BWALA, PhD, writes from Abuja.

NAUB: Prayers of our enemies shall not come to pass.

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Borno: Why would an NGO sponsor a fire outbreak in IDP camps?

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Borno: Why would an NGO sponsor a fire outbreak in IDP camps?

By: Dr. James BWALA

Although the commissioner for information in Borno State refused to mention in his statement those NGOs trying to malign the Zulum administration’s efforts towards the internally displaced people, IDP, a video in circulation with the confession of one of the arrested suspects alleges that an international INGO with the name ALIMA and others are behind the numerous fire outbreaks being experienced at various IDP camps across the state lately. 

It could be recalled that on one of his outings, to support the IDPs in Borno, the governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, received hurtful news of such experiences that made him lose it. But I ask again: why would an NGO sponsor a fire outbreak in IDP camps? A statement reads:

PUBLIC NOTICE ON SUSPECTED CASES OF FIRE INCIDENCES IN IDP CAMPS IN BORNO STATE 

The Borno State Government has received situation reports (SITREPs) from reliable sources regarding suspected cases of fire outbreaks in some IDP camps within the state. This recent rise in the frequency of infernos in IDP camps has been a matter of concern, and all hands are on deck to forestall any further occurrence of fire outbreaks in the state. The government has been investigating the occurrence of the infernos on a case-by-case basis, with a view to establishing the remote and extant causes and developing a strategy to stem future occurrences.

On March 29, 2024, the Ministry of Information and Internal Security received a report in which a suspect admitted that he and his “co-conspirators” were “hired” by some NGOs (names withheld) to set IDP camps on fire. This matter is under investigation, and further necessary action shall only be taken on the basis of the outcome of the investigation. Those arrested are in detention undergoing intensive interrogation, while the NGOs who were pinpointed in the alleged violent practice have been summoned for preliminary interrogation.

The government assures members of the public that this matter will receive appropriate and expedited attention, and any culprit will be dealt with according to the law. 

Meanwhile, members of the public are urged to be calm, peaceful, and law-abiding. Any breach of security should be reported to the nearest law enforcement agency or traditional rulers for transmission to the relevant authority.

*Announcer*

Prof. Usman Tar,

Honourable Commissioner, 

Ministry of Information and Internal Security, Borno State

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I have worked in a camp while working with some INGOs in Maiduguri, sometimes before returning to the field as a journalist. I can say without mincing words that some INGOs can do everything possible to keep their jobs. However, I am pained by such a move at the detriment of the efforts and support of the people of Borno State and Governor Babagana Umara Zulum. If there are such NGOs, they must be exposed! 

The government of Borno State and its resilient people have suffered enough in the last 13 years of insurgency. It is not a palatable experience for the governor to be moving from one point to another, trying to see that his people are met with the needed support and shelter after having fled their homes in the wake of the death harvest by agents of darkness. Governor Zulum has become a touring governor on mines fields with sweat-sucked clothes, trying to reach out to the needy across the landmines field. As such, he does not deserve this sabotaging move by the organization, which should also come to help as well.

The suspect, who made mention of the names of INGOs sponsoring the outbreak of fire in IDP, should be thoroughly investigated because some are also alleging that he could have actually been under duress to mention the names of some organization as a result of the beating he received. If at all that was the case, these partners alledgedly in crime can be acquitted; otherwise, they actually should not have a place to operate in the state or anywhere else on Nigeria’s soil because the need for them is to help our people and not to add salt to injury in a place where deaths mounted.

James BWALA, PhD, writes from Abuja.

Borno: Why would an NGO sponsor a fire outbreak in IDP camps?

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Army University Biu: When Governor Zulum Visits President Tinubu

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ISWAP attack Army University kill 2 staff

Army University Biu: When Governor Zulum Visits President Tinubu

By: Dr. James BWALA

Those who smuggled the issue of the merger of the Nigerian Army University Biu and the Nigeria Defense Academy in the Steve Oronsaye report can now hide their faces in shame because their plans to deflate the education of the Borno children and indeed children of Nigeria through mischief have failed. 

Those who also blamed our leaders for the shared political landscape on the matter can now see the truth, as it is written with the visit to the Aso Rock villa by our governor to plead on behalf of the state to save it’s struggle on ensuring education for our tomorrow’s children.

In a society like ours, where people believed more on rumour and hearsay in prevailing circumstances, I felt ashamed when I looked at the level of education we all claimed to have vis-à-vis our attitudes, and I chose to stand with the understanding I constantly preached on happenings and leadership from the mirror as I viewed it. I thank God that despite certain interest in seeing people like me as paid pipers, the truth of what I always hang on has vindicated me on many occasions, just as this one.

Army University Biu: When Governor Zulum Visits President Tinubu

Borno is the home of Nigeria’s Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, and it is now very strategic for political conflicts, just as Lagos would stand various political misunderstandings for any move made by the Tinubu, Kashim Shettima administration. Therefore, when the issue of the Steve Oronsaye report came on and some characters began to shape in their nature to put leaders in a crossfire, I understood that for such earlier criticisms, it was all about the politics and its dragons.

Now, President Bola Tinubu has instructed the Borno State Government to submit a memorandum on plans to convert the Nigerian Army University, Biu, Borno State, into a regular university. The implementation of the Orosanye Report, which was recently adopted by the federal government, proposed that the Nigerian Army University be subsumed into the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) as a faculty.

READ ALSO:https://newsng.ng/umth-how-professor-ahidjos-transformation-agenda-impacted-the-information-unit/

But the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, had argued against the plan right from when it was announced and made further moves to stop it on Friday by meeting with President Tinubu to suggest the exploration of other options. Speaking to journalists at the State House, Abuja, after meeting with President Tinubu, Governor Zulum revealed that the federal government was open to considering the alternative of converting the institution to a regular university under the Federal Ministry of Education.

Zulum said, “I saw Mr. President on the issue of Army University Biu, because recently, there was a communication from the presidency that some institutions would be merged according to the Oronsoye report. The government and people of Borno State have hailed this great initiative. It is a very good one. But, however, we have pleaded with Mr. President to reconsider the issue of the Army University merger with the Nigeria Defense Academy.

“Southern Borno State is a very important region, not only in Borno State but also in the entire country. There are a huge number of children that are willing to study, and they don’t have any federal universities in the zone. Once this army university is merged with NDA, we may encounter a huge number of out-of-school children as a result of the absence of a university in that part of the state. The most important thing is that the President has listened to me, and he has agreed to review the matter, inshallah,” he noted.

With the new information, I hope that the people who took it personally to think that no action is taken by the Borno state government since the announcement by the Steve Oronsaye report can convince themselves to many reports flying around on the visit to Mr. President by Professor Babagana Umara Zulum and the fruit of the meeting, and indeed, as he (Zulum) said, the institution serves a large population from Southern Borno whose chances of getting a tertiary education are in jeopardy.

James BWALA, PhD, writes from Abuja.

Army University Biu: When Governor Zulum Visits President Tinubu

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Army University Biu: There is certain interest, but certainly not from Borno.

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Army University Biu: There is certain interest, but certainly not from Borno.

By: Dr. James BWALA

The Steve Oronsaye report, which failed in its implementation during the Jonathan and Buhari administration, has fallen into the loudest criticisms by Nigerians, especially the people of Borno State, owing to its seemingly reversed posture on the education of thousands who needed to add knowledge through the university system, particularly children of Borno State who are battling with the issues of Boko Haram, to the effect that it almost crippled west education in the state.

Schools are not enough in place in Borno State to cater to the needs on the ground in the fight to dismantle the minds of hundreds of thousands that have been indoctrinated against western education. According to many citizens, the order for the implementation of the Steve Oronsaye report, which named the Army University in Biu town in southern Borno, has a number of political interests, to the effect that some people have been pointing fingers at some politicians in the state for smuggling the de-Army University Biu in the reports.

I have spoken to many people on the earliest day of the report, trying to discredit their minds on certain individuals they are raising their doubts about for possibly working against the progress of the people by probably supporting the government’s idea of merging the Army University Biu with the Nigerian Defence Academy, which, in my opinion, is wrong to have begun to look at the situation from that angle. I have talked with a number of lecturers at both the University of Maiduguri and the Army University Biu to feel their pulse on certain name-callings.

Someone did send a message to me that read, “Mallam: Why should the Nigerian Army University be included in the ongoing implementation of the Steve Oronsaye Report? The report was dated in 2012, while the Army University was established in 2018. So the university couldn’t have been featured in the report. I smell a rat.”

Well, I already heard some names, which I tried to defend fairly in the face of confrontations. Sometimes I feel people who see themselves on the disadvantage side owing to what they heard other people say about them are often eager to move to anger over issues they may not be clear with, especially the Steve Oronsaye report and the involvement of the Nigerian Army University Biu.

I was particularly happy when I saw the Borno state governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, pleading with the federal government over the calculation to merge the Army University with the NDA. He went point blank to state the importance of the Army University to Borno State, to the extent that he pleaded for the federal ministry of education to take over the university as one of the federal government universities if it most affected the Steve Oronsaye report.

The Borno state governor, as I often described him, would not mince words to state the facts. If there are undertones, as some people have already misinterpreted through the gates of misinformation as they have gathered in their underneath assumptions, the professor as I know him over the years would not have been on the pages of newspapers and on radio and TV standing with the people to give reasons for the federal government to rethink its position on the Army University Biu.

Those who are thinking that the rest of the Borno state may not be standing with the southern Borno in the mere allegations should know that the members of the representatives in both the green and red chambers at the National Assembly have come together under one umbrella to speak with one voice over the intentions of the federal government on the Army University Biu as intended, pinning to the Steve Oronsaye report.

I believe that they have gone a long way to advise the government on the needs that must be met to allow the Army University Biu to stand on its own. The Army University Biu must be allowed to function, not as a department or otherwise, and way apart from the regimented NDA. It is to benefit the civilians, who are also tax payers, that makes the country thicker in blending civility and regimented lives. 

The Borno state governor’s voice, added to the many voices, has rekindled hope in this renewed hope mantra of the Tinubu Administration, and I hope that we can give space to understand certain situations before we speak of them, and not to add negative thoughts to innocent claims. Borno is home to us, and we must stand with our leaders. The Army University Biu never wanted to be sited in Biu in the first place, and these forces are not from Borno State.

James BWALA, PhD, writes from Abuja. 

Army University Biu: There is certain interest, but certainly not from Borno.

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