Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
Clifford University, Owerrinta, Anchor University, Ayobo and six other private universities recently approved by the federal government have been presented with their provisional licences.
Presenting the licences to the universities in Abuja yesterday, Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Gozie Anwukah, said more universities are needed in the country to increase access to tertiary education.
He said the 152 universities in the country today are grossly inadequate in relation to demand.
“With these eight (new universities), it means the ratio of the universities in relation to population is 1 to 23 million people, a challenge that must be addressed, considering the huge population of Nigeria conservatively put at 170 million today.”
On his part, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said private universities hold the future of Nigeria as some of the best teaching and learning in the country take place in them.
While saying that the new universities would be attached to older universities in the country, the NUC boss said the provisional licences have a life span of three years in the first instance before the issue of substantial licences would be determined.
He, however, warned proprietors of the newly licensed private universities against subjecting their academic staff to degrading treatment and all forms of practices inimical tofreedom.
Apart from the Seventh Day Adventist-owned Clifford University, which is located in a permanent site which covers 126.1648 hectares at Owerrinta, Abia State, other universities that got licences include, Anchor University, Ayobo Lagos State; Arthur Jarvis University, Akpabuyo, Cross River State.
Others are Coal City University, Enugu, Enugu State; Crown-Hill University, Eiyenkorin, Kwara State; Dominican University, Ibadan, Oyo State; Kola Daisi University, Ibadan, Oyo State and Legacy University, Okija, Anambra State.