Reps stop planned closure of 556 Abuja schools
• Lawmakers ask customs to end border killings
GUARDING against the disruption of the education of thousands of pupils, the House of Representatives yesterday asked the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello, to halt the planned closure of 556 alleged illegal schools operating within the territory.
Also, the House mandated its committee on FCT to investigate the desirability or otherwise of the planned clampdown on the affected schools and report back to the chamber within four weeks.
The lawmakers’ decision followed the adoption of a motion introduced on the floor of the House by Albert Abiodun Adeogun (APC, Osun) calling for an urgent intervention of the lower chamber in the plan by the Bello-led administration to close the schools.
Leading the debate on the motion, Adeogun noted that public schools in the FCT were not sufficient to cater for the educational needs of the increasing population. He said recent media reports showed that the Department of Quality Assurance of the Education Secretariat of the FCT had concluded all processes and got approval to close down the 556 schools described as “below standard and illegal as soon as funds are available to execute the plan.”
The lawmaker informed the parliament that he was aware that the closure of the 556 schools would throw over 100,000 pupils and students out of school.
“The fate of the pupils who are in the various purported illegal private schools which have not been approved by FCT administration will impact negatively on the future of the children and destroy the need to improve the literacy rate of Nigerians,” he said.
In another development, the chamber yesterday directed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to stop the incessant killings of residents in the border towns of Gaga, Wurno, Tangaza, Wammako and Kware in Sokoto State.
The House directed its Committee on Customs to conduct a holistic investigation into the matter and report back within two weeks.
The resolution by the House came following a motion on matters of urgent public importance brought by Abdullahi Salame (APC, Bauchi).
“The customs men have caused a lot of serious accidents in various towns and villages of the area as a result of pursuing vehicles suspected to be carrying smuggled goods. This has led to loss of many lives and properties,” he said.
According to Salame, if the authorities failed to make conscious effort to halt the killings, the development could lead to breakdown of law in the affected areas as the situation had the tendency to also put at risk the lives and properties of the law enforcement officers.
The House further directed that all unnecessary road blocks mounted by security agencies should be dismantled, alleging that they were avenues for exploiting Nigerians.
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