@SpeakerDogara Assures Students Of Safety Nets In 2016 Budget, Says Education Is Essential To APC’s Change Agenda
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, has assured Nigerian students that the National Assembly will ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari’s promises regarding social safety nets in the 2016 Appropriation Bill are implemented when passed by the National Assembly.
A statement issued by the special adviser to the Speaker on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, added that the Speaker made this promise when he received a delegation from the National Association of Nigeria Students, NANS, at his office on Thursday
“As a responsible parliament, once the budget is passed, through our committee systems, we will track those funds and ensure through the power of oversight, that the promises are delivered to the intended beneficiaries. Thank God change has been promised, Nigerians are expecting change and we cannot deliver anything less than the change that we have promised.
We will trace every kobo, we will track every kobo; if they are meant for students, we will ensure that they are delivered and if they are not, we will raise queries.”
“Things will be done differently; these promises will be delivered, especially areas bordering on social safety nets,” the Speaker promised.
The Speaker assured them that the Eighth Assembly will ensure that education is given priority and placed in its rightful place because in a country where education is lacking, there is no hope of achieving progress.
“For us, education is everything. Most – if not all – of us here can connect with that statement in the sense that without education, we would not be in the House,” he said, adding that “without education, no nation can make progress and that is why it is very important for all leaders, not only at the level of the legislature, but even the Executive, to pay attention to the problems that our educational institutions are faced with.”
“The truth over a period of history has always been that any nation that raises a group of highly educated leaders – even without natural resources – tend to make progress. In some countries now, they don’t sell natural resources, they sell intellectual capital.”
He also disclosed plans by the parliament to interact with students through a proposed parliamentary student forum twice every year. The Speaker further explained this, saying that one student from each of the federal and state institutions will be sent as a representative to the forum, with a gender balance of 50 percent male and 50 percent female, and that these students will be expected to share their expectations regarding their leaders, parliament and how the country should be run.
The Speaker, while reacting to reports that students were being victimized for participating in union activities, assured them that the relevant committee of the House will take up such cases with a view to ensuring that justice is done, because “democracy comes with criticism and differing voices”.
“Democracy does not aim to produce docile citizens that will depend solely on the government. If the actions of leaders are subjected to debates, then leaders tend to act in the best way possible and in ways that engender growth and guarantee good governance”, he said