THE Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved provisional licence for the establishment of eight new private universities in Nigeria, as part of efforts to increase access to university education.
The approval followed the recommendation by the National Universities Commission (NUC), the regulatory agency in charge of university education in the country.
Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwuka, who briefed State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, said the development was sequel to a memo submitted by his ministry to the council on Wednesday, seeking approval of the universities.
He listed the names of the new universities as: Anchor University, located in Ayobo, Lagos State, being promoted by Deeper Christian Life Ministry; Arthur Jarvis University, Akpabuyo, Cross River State, promoted by Clitter House Nigeria Limited; Clifford University, Owerrinta, Abia State, promoted by Seventh Day Adventist Church; Coal City University, Enugu, promoted by African Thinkers Community of Inquiry, College of Education, Enugu.
Others approved by FEC were Crown-Hill University, Eiyenkorin, Kwara State, promoted by Modern Morgy and Sons Limited; Dominican University, Ibadan, promoted by Order of Preachers, Nigerian Dominican Community; Kola Daisi University, Ibadan, promoted by Kola Daisi Foundation and Legacy University, Okija, promoted by The Good Idea Education Foundation.
Anwuka, who was joined by the Minister State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika and Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, noted that the eight universities would be mentored by existing older universities in the country.
The mentoring universities included University of Lagos, University of Calabar, University of Agriculture, Umudike, University of Nigeria (UNN), University of Ilorin, University of Ibadan and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, respectively.
Nigeria currently has 143 existing universities. Of this number, 61 are operated by private individuals and institutions. The approval of additional eight by the council brought the total number of universities in the country to 151.
The new universities, which would run programmes for an initial three years in provisional status, are expected to accommodate the teeming population of Nigerian students seeking admission into universities for academic pursuits.
Professor Anwuka noted that the mentoring arrangement was backed by Education Act, Cap E3 Laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004 implemented by the NUC and the Federal Ministry of Education.
The minister said the universities would be visited during the three years of provisional licence, to “ensure that they are doing the needful in providing meaningful, responsive education to Nigerian youths.”
Minister of Information and Culture also corroborated the explanation of Anwuka, when he said that the law on mentoring was specific on exactly what was required.