By Raphael Ekpang
The senate on Tuesday passed a bill for an act for the establishment of the federal university of health sciences, Otukpo, Benue state for the second reading. The Bill was read for the first time in the floor of the senate November 26, 2019.
Sen. Abba Morro (PDP Benue South), the sponsored of the bill in a lead debate said the bill seeks to establish the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo (FUHSO), being the First Federal University of Health Sciences in Nigeria, so as to aggrandize access to medical education in Nigeria.
He also said that the bill when established, will address the dearth in admission of students aspiring to study Medicine and Allied Sciences in Nigeria and the supply of needed manpower in our health services industry.
Sen Morro noted further that the university would bridge the gap of the challenges of inadequate health professionals in our country, Nigeria.
“Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues, it is common knowledge that the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) is the Nigerian entrance examination board for tertiary-level Institutions, consequently JAMB conducts entrance Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations for prospective undergraduates into Nigerian Universities.
“According to statistics from JAMB 2017, the existing Medical Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria admit less than 20% of candidates desirous and qualified to study Medicine and its Allied Sciences in Nigerian Universities.
“It’s pertinent to mention here that the teeming Nigerian population puts enormous strain an stress on the national infrastructure and available Health Personnel.
“, permit me to bring to your notice the fact that Nigeria has only about 72,000 nationally registered medical doctors, with only 35,000 practising Medical Doctors, serving a population approximated to be about 200,000,000 people.
“May I mention further that the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, Bill is a development that was looked into by the past administration. The Bill was initiated by the then President of the Senate in the 7th and 8th Senate, Senator David Mark, GCON, in the 8th Senate, which passed the various stages of law making and received a resounding support from Legislators and Stakeholders across the country. However, the Bill was never transmitted for assent before the end of the Senate.
The former minister of interior informed his colleagues that His Excellency, President Muhammad Buhari has already approved the establishment of the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, therefore, called for the support of the Bill to enable it has accelerated passage, to give the institution the requisite legislative backing it needs for proper functioning.
However, the Sen. James Manager “PDP Delta ” while supporting the motion advise the leadership of the senate to assemble all the bills that have passed all the legislative processes waiting for accent by the President, Muhammadu Buhari before the end of the previous legislative years and repackage it and send it back to him to enable them threat fresh bills.
Meanwhile, the bill was referred to the senate committee on tertiary institutions for further legislations.