Buratai, Air Force chief establish military universities

Buratai, Air Force chief establish military universities

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Buratai; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; have decided to establish military universiti

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Buratai; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; have decided to establish military universities: the Nigerian Army University and Nigerian Air Force University. Both will be situated in their respective hometowns. While the army university which is already running was established in 2018 in Biu, Borno State, where Buratai hails from while the proposed air force university will be located in Bauchi, where Abubakar is from.

The army university has already been approved by the National Universities Commission even as the Federal Executive Council gave its nod for a N2bn take-off grant for the university which would be accessed from Tertiary Education Trust Fund.

However, a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), described the establishment of universities in the hometowns of service chiefs as an abuse of office. Falana said it was unfortunate that service chiefs were taking actions in contravention of the federal character principle.

He said, “The Nigerian Defence Academy already exists and it awards certificates. The same NDA is not well funded and yet the military is establishing new universities in the hometowns of service chiefs. Interestingly, NDA, the army university and the new air force university and other institutions are mostly concentrated in the North. This is against the federal character principle.”

Top military officers also agree that the establishment of the new military universities were not only the height of nepotism but abuse of taxpayers’ funds. A brigadier-general, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “What the service chiefs are doing is nothing but a waste of taxpayers’ money. It is even worse that the Federal Government is allowing them to do this at a time when we need to curb waste. The service chiefs have been in office for over four years and have turned themselves into politicians, taking projects to their hometowns like constituency projects.”

An air commodore, who also wished to remain anonymous, said there was already an Air Force Institute of Technology in Kaduna which was approved by the NUC. He said the institute was already offering courses on aeronautics, aerospace engineering and avionics and wondered why there was a need to establish more institutions. He said, “FEC has approved N2bn for the takeoff of the army university. That is already a waste of taxpayers’ funds. Even conventional public universities are complaining of lack of funds. Is this the best time for the military to establish new schools?”