Human rights lawyer Femi Falana SAN has raised concerns over the failure of Nigerian authorities to adequately fund education and the poor state of education across the county.

Falana stated this in a lecture titled Managing Freedom and Illusions of Achievement and delivered at the 2019 Convocation Lecture of Caleb University, on Friday.

According to him, “The university ought to have prepared the new graduates to grapple with the challenges of life. But due to lack of opportunities and abuse of academic freedom the education acquired here has partially prepared the graduates to face the vicissitude of life.”

Falana also said, “The preparation was not thorough because the failure of the government to fund education. Majority of our young graduates are not relevant in the Nigerian economy. Despite having attained university education, they find it difficult to apply knowledge to reality.”

The paper read: “Thus, many foreigners are taking over vacancies in Nigeria’s core manufacturing/industrial sectors. It would readily be recalled that the recent economic prosperity experienced in China was mainly driven by various applications of knowledge and technologies.”

“How do we find our own unique way of gaining impressive achievements in economic growth and poverty eradication? Nigeria is perhaps the world’s greatest importer of an assortment of second hand goods, ranging from exotic cars to dresses-making us the largest consumer nation on the planet.”

“However, we as a nation have refused to become the greatest exporter of goods and services. Perhaps, adopting the concept of ‘swadeshi’ in pre-colonial India were Mohandas Gandhi said: ‘I’d rather go naked than wear foreign cloths’, implying the imperative need to advance/tap into the wealth of knowledge embodied in India’s resources.”

“Education enables self-development and stimulates the individual to serve society and support humanity and remove the chains of slavery in order to attain self-realization and national growth. Our universities must not only produce young men and women of ideas but they must resume the tradition of speaking truth to power.”

“For example, law journals produced by our faculties of law should review the judgments of our courts and subject them to criticism. Law students should be posted to rural areas for attachment to interact with the people and learn about justice delivery that is devoid of colonial influence.”

“Our political science departments should constantly monitor the political system, track budget performance at the federal, state and local government levels in order to ensure even and balanced development of all areas of the country. Furthermore, it is suggested that universities should aspire to acquire a multitude of academic and practical experience.”

“Along these lines, faculties of engineering should have construction firms in university premises. An in-house staff of mechanical engineers will bring in practical experience for students within the department for a thorough understanding of construction projects.”

“Our faculties of education should collaborate with the national commission for adult literacy to embark on the promotion of adult literacy. With the involvement of youth corp members and undergraduates illiteracy can be wiped out in our country. Cuba did so in one year.”

“Some other third world countries have achieved a similar feat. Confronted by mass unemployment our universities should redesign academic programs to include vocational education.”

“Tertiary education is the cornerstone for Nigeria’s economic growth and national development. In today’s world the training of students in universities is vital for both formal and informal education for the onward transmission to building a knowledge economy, new challenges in life and for establishing a civic duty to society.”

“Scholars have realized the need to make education relevant in the Nigerian society. Nations all over the world have implemented educational ideals relevant to their national development needs. The increasing importance of a knowledge economy in today’s world, and industrial change has made the quest for knowledge a crucial determinant for economic and industrial growth. The growth of knowledge has become a daily activity in our globalized village.”

“It is crucial to note that millions of Nigerians think that earning a higher degree would lead them to a secure means of living, guaranteeing individual economic security and social acceptance.”

“It is misleading to give the impression that “Nigeria earns almost as much from oil as it earns from remittances from the Diaspora.”

“Like majority of citizens outside the banking sector, Professor Jeyifo is certainly not aware of the painful fact that the dollars remitted home by Nigerians in the Diaspora are paid to beneficiaries in Naira to which they are illegally converted by the banks.”

“For reasons best known to the Central Bank of Nigeria the banks involved have been allowed to sabotage the economy by breaching the nation’s foreign exchange and money laundering laws by unilaterally substituting dollars for Naira while keeping the dollars in their foreign bank accounts.”

“I fully agree with Mr. Henry Boyo when he observed that “Nigerian banks and their overseas agents ultimately become the inheritors of the $25bn Diaspora remittance, which they can deploy as they please without need to repatriate these dollars to grow the Nigerian economy.”

“Ultimately, the loot from this RIP-OFF of the Nigerian people may be invested in huge assets abroad or it will be safely tucked out of sight in protected offshore secret accounts, which have become the graveyards for funds looted primarily from African origins.”

“It is my submission that if the $25 billion remitted home by Nigerians in the Diaspora is injected into the economy the Naira will appreciate against the Dollar to the benefit of the national economy.”

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