9th October, 2012
PATRIOTIC BILL ET AL: KUDOS TO NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Nigerian senators recently drafted a bill that will disallow public office holders from sending their children abroad for studies. Known as the Patriotic Bill, the move seeks to drastically reduce the common but selfish practice of Nigeria's public officers who sponsor their own children and wards abroad while stinting the education sector at home of essential infrastructure. Exempted from the bill are children of public officers who are adults and fending for themselves; those pursuing courses in areas not offered in any Nigerian institution and those who are already pursuing programmes overseas before their parents got to public offices.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) lauds the Upper House for initiating this bill and for having the courage to debate it and move it forward. It is further proof of the progress of democratic practices in Nigeria. The National Assembly appears in recent times to be focused on delivering the dividends of democracy to ordinary Nigerians. We recall its noble stand on the removal of fuel subsidy in January this year. At present, the National Assembly is locked in a battle of wits with the presidency over the implementation of the 2012 budget. In our humble opinion, Nigerian legislators are waxing stronger in their oversight functions.
MURIC however calls the attention of the National Assembly to the need for reviewing the exemption clauses in the bill. We frown at the exemption of public office holders whose children have been studying overseas before they became public officers.
We believe very strongly that anyone who aspires to public office should be patriotic enough to keep his or her children or wards in Nigerian institutions. Those who already have children or wards abroad have the option of bringing them back into the country to continue their studies if they need public office at all.
The reality is that our public officers abandon Nigeria's education sector because most of them train their children and wards overseas. They must be made to retain their children here so we can all improve the system together. The taste of the pudding is in the eating. How can they know it if they don't feel it?
In addition, MURIC suggests that the Patriotic Bill be amended to include banning public office holders and members of their nuclear family from seeking medical attention outside the shores of Nigeria except in cases where treatment of such ailments cannot be done in the country.
Our hospitals became public mortuaries simply because government officials show no interest in what transpires there. They go abroad to treat ordinary headache and abandon the poor masses who voted them into power to attend hospitals where drugs are not available and vital facilities are either malfunctioning or not available at all. Millions of poor Nigerians died prematurely as a result of this criminal and reckless behavior.
Professor Is-haq Akintola,
Lagos State University,
P.O. Box 10211,
LASU Post Office,
HO 102 101,
I remain oppressed untill the hungry are fed, the naked clothed,
the sick healed and the homeless sheltered