Nigeria’s former speaker of House Reps advises NUC to halt issuance of licenses to private varsities
By Ahmed Ahmed
Nigeria’s former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has urged the National University Commission (NUC) to halt issuance of licenses to private universities to pave the way for the growth of the existing ones.
Dogara made the call at the 11th Convocation ceremony of Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State at the weekend.
He said that the commission must be quick to have a recess, a break for a period of time to allow the very large number of private universities already licensed to mature.
The former speaker explained that there were 202 universities in Nigeria, out of which the federal government owns 49, the 36 states own 54, while 99 universities are private initiatives.
“Many of the newly established private universities are still struggling to find their feet; not because there are no prospective university students in JAMB’s pool.
“But we would be shying away from the reality if we fail to realize that very many of the applicants cannot afford the fees charged by private universities.
“So many prospective university students would rather wait for a few years to benefit from public university rather than exploit the vast opportunity available in private universities,” he stressed.
According to Dogara, “We must however acknowledge the great jobs the private universities are doing for those who can afford it, and for assisting the government in stemming the tide of educational tourism.
“Hitherto, many Nigerian youths were found in very great numbers in many universities across the globe, particularly in West African countries.
“In the last 21 years, with the advent of private universities in Nigeria, the story has changed for good.”
Dogara also advised universities to concentrate on infrastructure and rather see the development of the youths both in knowledge and character.
“As the main mandate of the National Universities Commission in granting the license to operate a private university.
“Fantastic infrastructure, as it is, is good only as aid to achieving your primary mandate as a university, which include, learning, research and community development,” the ex-speaker said.
Dogara, however, congratulated the graduates, undergraduates and postgraduates, honorary doctoral degree awardees of honours, Senate and Council of Achievers University for achieving the goals.