By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that his administration invested about N1.3 trillion into the education sector in the last four years.
This is just as he vowed to continue execution of lives changing projects across the country.
According to a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by his media adviser, Femi Adesina, Buhari, who was in Zaria to commission the Post Graduate Centre of Excellence built by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Ahmadu Ballo University and Water Expansion projects assured Nigerians that his administration will not rest until it delivers on its commitments on quality education, including investing more resources in the sector and providing a conducive learning environment in the academia.
At the Ahmadu Bello University project, the President said the Federal government have invested close to N1.3 trillion towards the development of the education sector in the past 4 years, excluding funds spent on overhead and personnel costs.
Commending the CBN for providing the Centre, sited at the Samaru campus of the institution, the President said:
‘‘By this exercise, we are building on the vision of the founder of this great institution, Late and great Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, who, as Premier of Northern Nigeria, established this institution almost six decades ago.
‘‘It is on record that this University has made giant contributions towards the development of our nation and we remain grateful to the Founder of this vision.’’
Expressing concern over the state of facilities in Nigerian universities, due to long years of perennial funding challenges, the President promised that his administration will continue to place premium on education at all levels.
‘‘It is no longer a secret that the state of facilities in our universities and other institutions of higher learning has not kept pace with the requirements of the ever-growing population of students and other stakeholders or with modern methods of learning.
‘‘This has largely been due to the perennial funding challenge over the years. As an administration, we are committed and determined to continue to fund our vital institutions, even in the face of limited financial resources.
“Let me reiterate here that this administration places much premium on education at all levels, as it is the bedrock of society’s progress, and the way to overcome poverty,’’ he said.
The President expressed confidence that efforts at improving access to quality education in tertiary institutions will enable young Nigerians to make meaningful contributions towards the nation’s development.
‘‘The wealth of nations today is being shaped by investment in education rather than emphasis on mineral resources.
‘‘Investment in education is a critical factor in driving innovation, technological advancements and employment opportunities in advanced economies,” he said.
Commissioning the Water Expansion project also in Zaria, Buhari pledged that his administration will continue to implement policies and execute people-oriented projects that will change the narrative for Nigerians.
According to him, in spite of lean resources, the government released N11.8 billion on the construction of the multipurpose 186.1 Million Cubic Meters Galma Dam as a contribution to the project.
“This project is the culmination of the joint efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Kaduna State Government, Islamic Development Bank and the African Development Bank.
‘’The multilateral nature of the funding for this project underscores the great importance the Kaduna State Government and the Federal Government attach to this project, which is designed to provide adequate water to the growing city of Zaria and its environs, ‘’ Buhari said.
Commending Governor Nasiru El Rufai of Kaduna State for completing the water project which had hitherto languished for years, the President said: ‘‘I am aware that the governor undertook to offset all outstanding payments to the contractor in 2015 which led to the resumption of construction activities at the 150 Million Litres-per- day water treatment plant.’’
The President equally praised El-rufai for demonstrating an appreciable commitment to development through people-oriented projects.
‘’To our multilateral partners, the Islamic Development Bank and the African Development Bank, we are grateful for your part in providing the needed funding to undertake and complete the transmission mains, service reservoirs, booster stations and distribution network.
‘’We could not have done it without your contributions. We are hopeful that this partnership will continue as we seek to reach out to other communities, cities and states in Nigeria to provide water facilities and other essential services,’’ he said.