By Emeka Mamah
The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is to build a study centre for the Niger Delta militants, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Olugbemiro Jegede has said.
Jegede said that already, NOUN has identified an abandoned ship used by the former Military Governor of Rivers state, Commander Diette Spiff that would be refurbished to serve as one of the centres.
He spoke in Kaduna yesterday while commissioning a special study centre for officers and men of the Nigeria Air Force.
His words, â€œNigeria owes her people education and everybody; because Nigeria has signed the United Nation Charter of 1948, we owe it to every Nigerian to be provided with education as a right.
â€œBecause of that, we know that there are people in special areas that the conventional education cannot reach and one group of such people are the house wives, the nomadic and fisher men. But there are others in the creeks and the riverine areas all over Nigeria and not just in the coast; but also in the hinter land through the River Nigeria and River Benue where people living by the side of the water would need education.
â€œBecause of that, we identified a very big boat; actually it is a ship that was used in the seventies by Commander Diette Spiff of Rivers. That boat has been lying dormant for the past 25 years in Port Harcourt and what we want to do, if government gives it to us and we have made representation to government that they should give it to us.
â€œWe have spoken to the Chief of Naval Staff and the government of Rivers state that we need to have this boat so that we can develop it into a floating or moving Study Centre that will go through all the Riverside areas and our students who are in those places, who cannot come into Port Harcourt, Warri, Lagos or anywhere can have access.
â€œWe will develop it to be a complete study centre complete with offices, computers, DSTV and satellite station so that they can communicate with anybody and do their assignment. Anywhere it gets to, students will come in, do their assignment, get off and the ship moves.
â€œWe are hoping that, since the government has, its wisdom said that the River Niger should be dredged, once it is dredged, ships can go all the way to Barro and go through the other side to Makurdi. Our plan is that the ship will sail all through the River Niger.
â€œSo, it will be moving and our staff will be on it all the time. We want to develop it and once we can do that, it will help alleviate the problems of the unemployed youths that we have running around the country, particularly in the South-South and the Riverine areas.
â€œWe think that because education is so critical, these people need to be educated or must be educated. We think that the irreducible minimum that Nigeria owes its people is educationâ€.