The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday in Abuja approved the issuance of provisional licences for the establishment of seven new private universities in the country. Nigeria currently has 96 universities, comprising 27 federal, 35 state and 34 private universities.
The seven private universities are Wellspring University, Evbuobanosa, Edo State; Paul University, Awka, Anambra State; Rhema University, Obeama-Asa, Rivers State; Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, Osun State; Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State; Godfrey Okoye University,
Ugwuomu-Nike, Enugu State, and Nigerian Turkish Nile University, Abuja.
Speaking at the post FEC briefing, which was chaired by Nigerian president, Umaru Yar'Adua, the Minister of Information, Dora Akunyili, and her Minister of State counterpart, Ikra Bilbis, said the Minister of Education, Sam Egwu, presented a memo to the council seeking the approval for the issuance of provisional licences for the establishment of the new private universities.
Mrs. Akunyili said FEC approved the memo after considering the country's rising population. "Considering our rising population and this administration's desire to improve skills and enhance standards as one of the seven-point agenda Council, therefore, considered and approved the issuance of provisional licences for the establishment of the seven (7) private universities," she said.
The Minister of State for Education, Aisha Duku, who also spoke at the briefing, said the universities had to undergo rigorous screening before getting the provisional licences.
Ms Dukku added that currently, out of the 96 universities in the country, only 34 are privately owned, and that more universities are needed to take care of the millions who need admission. She said that over one million candidates applied for university admission this year through the Joint Matriculation Examination and only about 220,000 could be accommodated.
She also said contrary to popular opinion that private universities are concentrated in one part of the country, the seven approved private universities are evenly distributed. Two of them are situated in each of the three zones in the South, while one is in the Federal Capital Territory.