Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The National Universities Commission (NUC) has received fresh applications for the establishment of 274 private universities in the country.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, disclosed this in Abuja yesterday during the presentation of a letter of recognition of Zamfara State University, Talata-Marafa, to Governor Abdulaziz Yari.
He said the country now boasts of 162 universities, even as he gave the number of privately-owned universities in Nigeria as 74, with states and federal government accounting for 47 and 31 respectively.
While commending Zamfara State for establishing a university despite being the last to do so in the country, the NUC boss expressed concern with the few number of universities in the North-west geopolitical zone.
He said: “What is interesting is the concentration of universities in the country. Out of the 74 private universities 34 or 35 are from the South-west zone, about 13 or 14 from South-east, 13 from the South-south and 11 from the North-central and largely from the Ilorin, Lokoja and Abuja axis.
“The North-east has two and only one private university in North-west, which is the largest zone in the country and is located in Katsina. But we are currently processing about 274 applications for various universities, at least two or three of them are from Kano.”
The NUC boss expressed satisfaction with the quality roadmap of Zamfara State University, saying with its approval, all relevant government agencies have been informed of its establishment.
On his part, Governor Yari restated the commitment of his administration to ensuring that academic activities take-off in the university in 2018/2019 academic session.
He said the state government has approved the take-off grant of N3 billion for the university out of which N1 billion would be expended for capacity building of staff.
Speaking further, Yari said he only got to know few days ago that Zamfara was the only state in the country without a state university, just as he promised to do his best to achieve the desired goals of the new institution.