THE National Universities Commission (NUC) said about six million Nigerians that sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in the last five years were denied admission due to inadequate universities in the country.
Executive Secretary of the Commission, Abubakar Rasheed disclosed this on Monday when he received a delegation of Okun indigenes from Kogi West Senatorial District led by Sen. Dino Melaye in his office in Abuja.
He said: “we took a survey in the last five years alone that is from 2013 to 2017.
“About 7.8 million Nigerians, young Nigerians wrote the JAMB exams out of which only about 1.9 got admission into Nigerian universities.
“This means that for every five students who wrote, only one ended up in the university,” he said.
The executive secretary further said that Nigeria had 161 universities with only Zamfara state not having any.
“We have 161 universities, 41 are owned by the Federal Government, while 46 are owned by the various states.
“With all these, it is the belief of NUC, and it has been preaching this that we have much fewer universities than we need in this country.
“Like Ukraine that has about a third of our population they have about 500 universities.
“Just imagine the army of frustrated youth we are building for the country if nothing is done to remedy the situation,” Rasheed said.
He said the commission had been working to reform the system to encourage private participation.
“In the last one year alone, about 14 new private universities licensed by the federal government have been established.”
Rasheed said if more of the private universities were established as centres of excellence, Nigeria would be the better for it.
Responding, Senator Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi) said they were at the commission to appeal for the establishment of the Federal University of Agriculture Kabba, Kogi State.
The bill for the establishment of the university sought to upgrade the College of Agriculture Kabba into a degree awarding institution.
Melaye, who is the sponsor of the bill which had passed second reading in the Senate, said, “we are here to cry that we shouldn’t be begging for a university. We do deserve a university for our service to northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large.
“The College of Agriculture Kabba was established the same year Ahmadu Bello University Zaria was established.
“It has all the facilities, we are here to appeal to you to use your good office, should the consent, memo of NUC be required by President Muhammadu Buhari when he receives the bill for the establishment of the Federal University Kabba.”