Following the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on May 15, 2023, to establish 37 private universities in the country, the National Universities Commission (NUC) has presented provisional licenses to the new universities.
The 37 newly approved private universities received their provisional licence at a ceremony held on Friday, June 9, 2023, at the NUC’s headquarters in Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary of, the Federal Ministry of Education, David Adejo, said the approval brought the number of private universities in the country to 147 universities.
Adejo explained that the provisional approval given to the universities to operate was intended to create 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 with older-generation universities for academic and administrative mentoring to be moderated by the NUC.
“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”, he
Responding to the argument that private universities had become too many in the country, the Permanent Secretary said, “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, Indonesian among others”.
He assured that government would continue to encourage NUC to keep strengthening its quality assurance mechanism so that as the number increases, quality and relevance to national needs are not compromised.
The Executive Secretary of NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, said the Nigerian University system had experienced a rapid expansion over the last two decades from less than 40 in 1996 to 264 presently.
He noted that in processing the 37 new universities for licensing, the commission took adequate care to ensure the currency and relevance of their proposed academic programs in addressing the challenges of contemporary society.
Rasheed disclosed that the NUC had also developed a code of governance for private universities, which is expected to address the identified governance challenges bedeviling many private universities.
He warned the proprietors against breach of the conditions for the approval.
“Any unwholesome practice or operation outside the provisions of NUC guidelines is unacceptable and will attract appropriate sanctions,” he said.
On his part, Former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Professor Ibrahim Pantami charged the universities to be more focused on producing potential employers rather than potential employees, adding that the universities should prioritise producing potential job providers rather than potential job seekers.
The new universities were – Rayhaan University, Kebbi; Muhammad Kamalud University Kwara; Sam Maris University, Ondo; Aletheia University, Ago-Iwpye Ogun State; and Lux Mundi University Umuahia, Abia State.
Others were – Maduka University, Ekwegbe, Enugu State; PeaceLand University, Enugu State; Amadeus University, Amizi, Abia State; Vision University, Ikogbo, Ogun State; and Azman University, Kano State.
Also granted provisional approval were – Huda University, Gusau, Zamafara State; Franco British International University, Kaduna State; Canadian University of Nigeria, Abuja; Miva Open University, Abuja FCT; and Gerar University of Medical Science Imope Ijebu, Ogun State.
British Canadian University, Obufu Cross River State; Hensard University, Toru-Orua, Sagbama, Bayelsa State; Phoenix University, Agwada, Nasarawa State; Wigwe University, Isiokpo Rivers State; and Hillside University of Science and Technology, Okemisi, Ekiti State.
Also are the University on the Niger, Umunya, Anambra State, Elrazi Medical University Yargaya University, Kano State, Venite University, Iloro-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Shanahan University Onitsha, Anambra State, The Duke Medical University, Calabar, Cross River State, Mercy Medical University, Iwo, Ogun State, Cosmopolitan University Abuja and Iconic Open University, Sokoto State.
Others include West Midlands Open University, Ibadan, Oyo State, Amaj University, Kwali, Abuja, Prime University, Kuje, FCT Abuja, El-Amin University, Minna, Niger State, College of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Kaduna State, Jewel University, Gombe state, Nigerian University of Technology and Management, Apapa, Lagos State, Al-Muhibbah Open University, Abuja and Al-Bayan University, Ankpa, Kogi State.