The federal government, on Wednesday, approved the establishment of 12 new private universities across Nigeria.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House correspondents after weekly the federal executive council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhariri at the Presidential Villa.
He listed the benefitting states to include Kano, Niger, Gombe, Sokoto, Delta, Abia, Anambra and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
He said that the approval was given by the council following a memorandum presented by the Ministry of Education on behalf of the National Universities Commission (NUC).
He said, “Council approved the memo for the issuance of provisional licences for the establishment of 12 proposed private universities.
“The proposed private universities are Pen Resource University Gombe, Gombe State, Al-Ansar Univeristy, Maiduguri, Borno State, Margaret Lawrence I=University, Delta State, Khalifa Ishaku Rabiu University Kano, Kano State, Sports University Idumuje Ugboko, Delta State, Bala Ahmed University Kano, Saisa University of Mediacla Sciences and Technology, Sokoto State, Nigerian-British University Hasa, Abia State and Peter University Acina-Onene, Anambra State as well as Newgate University, Minna, Niger State, European University of Nigeria in Duboyi, Abuja and the North-West University Sokoto,” he said.
He said each of the new universities will be mentored by the old universities that are close to them.
“The mentors will be expected to oversee the following activities of the new universities which include: Recruitment of principal officers, academic, and administrative staff,
availability of human and material resources for the commencement of any academic program,
implementation of Carrying capacity, assistance in staff development, moderation of students examination and the results, general quality assurance activities, moderation of admission and external examination moderation,” he said.
Asked whether the issue of the strike by University-based unions was discussed by the council, and why new universities were approved when the public universities were on strike, he said: “can we say because ASUU is on strike, therefore we will not have new universities when we know that today 65 per cent of eligible students in the universities are just roaming the streets when we know that today, there are about 5,000 Nigerian students in Ukraine alone.
“And I think the total number of Nigerian students outside there is about 165, 000. We have a population of about 200 million people and we have just about 200 universities while countries like Indonesia have about 1,200 universities. We cannot fold our hands because ASUU is on strike so will not expand our educational facilities.
“You asked me, was the issue of ASUU discussed in council, we have Ministers and departments who are full time every day dealing with the issues of ASUU and labor unrest. It is not every matter that you discuss in Council.
“But I can tell you no government will just sleep and pretend that ASUU is not on strike, but there is engagement is going on”, he added.