274 new private varsities underway

By Ignatius Okorocha and Felix Khanoba
The National Universities Commission (NUC) has received fresh applications for the establishment of 274 private universities in the country.
NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, disclosed this in Abuja on Monday during the presentation of a letter of recognition of Zamfara State University, Talata-Marafa, to Governor Abdulaziz Yari.
He said that 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 numbers of universities in the North West geopolitical zone.
He said: a�?What is interesting is the concentration of universities in the country. 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.
a�?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.a�?
The NUC boss expressed satisfaction with the quality roadmap of Zamfara State University, saying with its todaya��s approval all relevant government agencies have been informed of its establishment.
On his part, Governor Abdulaziz Yari restated the commitment of his administration to ensuring 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 will be expended for capacity building of staff members.
Rasheed also disclosed yesterday that about six million university admission seeks were denied admission within the last five years due to acute shortage of spaces and capacities in the existing 161 universities.
Rasheed spoke in his office during an audience with Kogi West lobbyists for the upgrade of Federal College of Agriculture , Kabba to a full fledge university.
According to him, between 2013 and 2017, of the 7.8m university admission seekers that sat for Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) , only 1.9million gained admission, leaving the remaining 5.9 million in the cold .
“The surest way out of this problem largely created by yearly increase in population is for the government and private individuals or corporate bodies to establish more universities.
He told the Okun people led by Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West) and Nigerians that the NUC is currently working with the varsities to find solutions to the problems.
Melaye in his request from the NUC boss on behalf of Okun people said Okun land, specifically Kabba as its headquarters, deserves a university.
“The College of Agriculture, Kabba is as old as the ABU Zaria but it is yet to become a full-fledged university even though it has most of the facilities required to become a university.
“We need this university because it’s as important to us Okun people as the breath of air, so we have come to lobby you so that you can lobby the Education Minister, and President Buhari so that a university can be established in Kabba,a�? he said.

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