By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government has approved the establishment of four new universities and the upgrade of existing universities of technology in the country.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who made this known while briefing newsmen on Monday in Abuja, said the new universities would be located in Akwa Ibom, Jigawa, Osun and Bauchi states.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Arc Sonny Echono, said Jigawa and Akwa Ibom would play to university of technology that would take off this year while the universities to be located in Bauchi and Osun states are specialised institutions for Health, Nutrition and Medical Sciences.
Adamu also revealed that a National Institute of Technology (NIT) would be established in Abuja to serve essentially as a postgraduate centre devoted to research and innovation.
According to him, this will draw the best graduates from the now six universities of technology in the country as well as other exceptional graduates from reputable universities within and outside Nigeria.
He said : “Recall that at the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, he promised to establish an apex National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Abuja with six Satellite Universities of Technology, one in each geo-political zone of the country.
“This was captured in the 2015 APC Manifesto and also stressed in the Education for Change: Ministerial Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022 of the Ministry. The objective is to stimulate rapid technological transformation of the country.
“After a comprehensive review of the policy by key stakeholders in the education sector, it was resolved that the four existing Universities of Technology located in Yola (North East), Akure (South West), Owerri (South East) and Minna (North Central) be upgraded and equipped.
“While two additional Universities of Technology to be located in Jigawa and Akwa Ibom States, would be established for the purpose.
“Similarly, a National Institute of Technology (NIT) shall be established in Abuja. The institute shall be patterned after similar institutions in Singapore and Malaysia.
“This is to serve essentially as a postgraduate centre devoted to research and innovation, drawing the best graduates from the six Universities of Technology as well as other exceptional graduates from reputable universities within and outside Nigeria.”
Adamu said that the president had also approved the phased development programme, compelled by the country’s lean resources.
He said that the two new Universities of Technology would be established in 2021, while the upgrade of the existing four Universities of Technology and the National Institute of Technology would come up in 2022.Adamu said the president had also observed from the report of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the weak institutional capacity for disease control and surveillance in the country, particularly with respect to medical facilities, trained personnel and supporting infrastructure.
“With the recent establishment of the only Federal Government-owned University of Health Sciences, Otukpo in Benue State and the huge gap in doctor-patient ratio as well as in medical research and production of pharmaceutical products, government recognised the compelling need to establish two other specialised universities in Health, Nutrition and Medical Sciences.
“These universities will be located at Azare, Bauchi State and Ila Orangun, Osun State. These shall lay a solid foundation for building national preparedness and resilience in anticipation of future challenges in the health sector, while reducing medical tourism to countries like India, UAE, Egypt, Europe and the U.S.”
Adamu said that the president had also approved a take-off grant of N4 billion each for the Universities of Technology and N5 billion each for the Universities of Health Science from the funding Resources of Tetfund.
He said that the ministry would collaborate with the Federal Ministries of Health, Science and Technology, Communications and Digital Economy, the FCT Administration as well as other relevant agencies and Institutions to facilitate speedy actualisation of these projects.