NASS: Senate approves Kalu’s free Education Bill as Lawmaker intensifies distribution of Learning items across Abia-North
By Kenneth Udeh, Abuja
A Bill targeted at providing a compulsive, quality & free basic education sponsored by Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District, Orji Uzor Kalu has passed its first reading at the Senate on Wednesday.
Titled: Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act (Amendment) Bill S.B. 31, 2023, the bill passed through first reading during Wednesday’s plenary season of the Senate presided over by the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
The Bill of the 9th Senate Chief Whip which was the first business of the day received the nod of the Lawmakers after its short title was read by the Senate clerk, Barrister Chinedu Akubueze during plenary session.
Shortly after the bill was introduced to the Red Chambers by the Leader of the Senate , Opeyemi Bamidele it received the approval of the Senate via a voice vote presided by the Senate President, Akpabio.
A statement from Kalu, the Media Office of the Chairman Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation threw more light on the Educational bill explaining that the proposed law aims to amend 11 sections of the existing Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act 2004.
When amended the bill will provide for; the increased funding of Basic Education in Nigeria, free meals for school children which must be adequate and nutritious for the child’s growth and development, gender friendly amongst others.
Meanwhile, Kalu’s ongoing educational empowerment exercise for Basic schools in his Senatorial district was extended to Ovim Isuikwuato LGA, where students received learning items such as school bags, textbooks and other stationeries.
Recall that Kalu who is currently in his second term at the Senate had previously built a block of four (4) classrooms at Central School, Amune, Ovim.
Francis Ikwuaja, a community leader, expressed that the community were grateful for the sense of belonging accorded to them by the Senator. He said: “We are pleased with the Distinguished senator representing Abia North Senatorial District for all the care and love he has shown us and for his efforts to keep the public schools in their communities up to standard.
“Senator Dr Orji Uzor Kalu is a man who can never deviate from his promises to the people he represents. As a senator who values education, he is determined and committed to make all the public schools in Abia North very comfortable and conducive for pupils to learn.
The story was the same at Bende LGA during the flag off distribution at Apuanu Item Community primary School and two other Community primary schools in Amaekpu Item, where the locals, staff and students of the schools rained praises on Senator Kalu.
Kalu who was represented by his Senior Legislative Aide, Barr Victor Etie and his Legislative Assistant for Bende LGA, Barr Igwe Ifeanyi encouraged the pupils to make good use of the kind gestures offered to them urging them to take their studies very seriously.
Principals of Apuanu Item community Primary school and Amaekpu Item Community primary school, while reacting to Senator Kalu’s empowerment gesture thanked Kalu for taking their schools into consideration and pledged their unalloyed support and loyalty to the Legislator.
In seperate addresses, the Education committee Chairman of Apuanu Item community primary school Mr. Augustine Iheanacho and his counterpart at Amaekpu Item, Extolled the good virtues of Kalu and reiterated the sustenance of the vote of confidence passed on the Senator by the community.
The exercise involved the distribution of thousands of expensive school bags, notebooks and textbooks to every pupil of the aforementioned schools.
Kalu’s educational passion in the state can be traced back to when he served as the governor of Abia State from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007. During his administration in which he implemented Free Education for Basic and Secondary schools.
He initiated and implemented various educational policies, programs, and projects aimed at improving the standard of education in the state.
One of his administration’s notable blueprint in the Educational sector was the establishment of Abia State University, Uturu, which churned out best Graduates especially in the areas of Law and Medicine.
Kalu also left behind a network of quality primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions across the state.
As a two time Lawmaker , Kalu has continued to prioritise education as a tool for human capital development and nation-building. Recently, he donated a total of 35,000 books to public schools in Abia State to motivate the reading culture among students.
Kalu has continued to renovate and equip numerous schools across Abia north to strengthen education.
Kalu also ensured full payment of Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination (JSCCE) and West African Examination Council (WAEC) fees for students. Teachers were motivated as salaries were paid when due.
Kalu’s latest bill on Education is expected to be presented for second reading at the Senate in the coming weeks.