The National University Commission, NUC, on Friday, presented three former state governors’ provisional licences to operate private universities.
The former governors, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, Donald Duke of Cross River State, and Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto State were among the 37 proprietors of private universities that NUC presented provisional licences.
Dickson floated Hensard University, Toru-Orua, Sagbama; Duke–Duke Medical University, Calabar and Bafarawa – Amaj University, Kwali-Abuja.
During the event, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Abdullahi Adamu was also unveiled as the Board of Trustees Chairman of Phoenix University, Agwada, Nasarawa State.
Speaking during the event in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry Education, David Adejo, said the approval brings the number of private universities in Nigeria to 147 universities.
Adejo said the provisional approval given to the universities were aimed at creating room for effective mentoring and qualitative growth within the first three years of operation.
He said during the monitoring period, the new universities would be affiliated to older-generation universities for academic and administrative mentoring to be moderated by NUC.
According to Adejo: “This is part of NUC‘s initiative for early-warning signals to detect compromises in quality for the application of corrective and remedial measures to redress such situations. Substantive licences will be issued to well-managed institutions after the three years of probation following their satisfactory performance and growth, within guidelines stipulated by the Commission.”
Adejo also stressed the need to increase the number of universities in the country, taking into consideration the country’s 200 million population.
He noted that private Universities had contributed to the opening up of admission space for the swelling population of candidates seeking university education in the country.
He observed that the argument in some quarters that private universities had become too many in Nigeria was not plausible, noting that comparative figures of universities in other countries show that Nigeria needs more universities.
“Government is also well aware that countries that are consistently well-ranked in Human Development indices have, in recognition of the important role of Universities in human capital development, maintaining a respectable number of Universities relative to their population.
“In relation to Nigeria’s population of over 200 million, the current 264 Universities is quite low when compared to those of other economies such as Korea, Indonesia among others,” he said.