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Reps Pass Bill on Removal of BSc, HND Dichotomy

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From Jonas Ike, Abuja

…Recommend N5M fine for offenders of the new law

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the bill for an Act to abolish and prohibit the dichotomy and discrimination between First Degree and Higher National Diploma (HND) in the the same profession, through third reading.
Sequel to the development, the House is expected to transmit the clean copy of the bill to the Senate for concurrence.
In the bid to ensure compliance, the bill provides for fine of N5 million for corporate organisation and N1 million for individual offenders.
According, “All forms of discrimination and or dichotomy between First Degrees and Higher National Diplomas in the same profession or field in any form whatsoever is hereby prohibited
” No  person, entity (body or corporate) in whatsoever name called shall discriminate and or undertake any action in any form whatsoever which is construed as and or intended to give any preferential treatment in favour and or against holders of First Degree or Higher National Diploma in the same field”.
The bill also stipulated that, “contravention of this law by a corporate entity and or an individual is an offence punishable on conviction; to a fine of five million Naira to the staff found guilty in the case of a corporate entity and one million or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or both, in the case of an individual.
“This bill shall be applicable to both public service and private sector where graduates are employed in the same profession or fields.
“Holders of First Degrees and Higher National Diplomas in the same profession or field shall be given equal treatment and opportunity in career placements, career placements progressions, admission to further studies and in any other form whatsoever in consideration of status as graduates of Nigerian Tertiary Institutions of Higher Learning.”
According to provisions of the bill, “First Degrees and Higher National Diplomas in the same profession or fields shall be deemed and treated as exact equivalent graduate certificates.
“All forms of discrimination and or dichotomy between First Degrees and Higher National Diplomas in the same profession or field in any form whatsoever is hereby prohibited.
“Accordingly, no person, entity (body or corporate) in whatsoever name called shall discriminate and or undertake any action in any form whatsoever which is construed as and or intended to give any preferential treatment in favour and or against holders of First Degree or Higher National Diploma in the same field”.
The bill also provides that: “contravention of this law by a corporate entity and or an individual is an offence punishable on conviction; to a fine of five million naira to the staff found guilty in the case of a corporate entity and one million or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or both, in the case of an individual.
“This bill shall be applicable to both public service and private sector where graduates are employed in the same profession or fields.
“Holders of First Degrees and Higher National Diplomas in the same profession or field shall be given equal treatment and opportunity in career placements, career placements progressions, admission to further studies and in any other form whatsoever in consideration of status as graduates of Nigerian Tertiary Institutions of Higher Learning.”
Speaking on the intendment of the bill, Hon Edward Pwajok, chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business had said the “discrimination” against the polytechnic graduates “had no moral justification” and that it would make the international community to look down on the status of educational institutions in the country.
The lawmaker had said there was a lot of segregation at employment level, and that “those with first degree are placed on grade level 8, while those with HND are placed on grade level 6 or 7.”
He had also said the discrimination reflects in salaries as some organisations pay degree holders N100,000 at entry level, while their counterparts with HND were paid N70,000.
He added that proper recognition being given to polytechnics and similar institutions in the country would also help in the development of the private sector.
Recall that Federal Government had through a circular abolished the dichotomy between the two class of degree holders in the services under  Federal Ministry of Interior.
The agencies affected were the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) and Federal Fire Service (FFS).

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