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Bill To Establish 47 New Universities Scales Second Reading

The number of federal-owned universities in Nigeria may hit 99 in the coming months as a bill to establish 47 new ones has scaled through the second reading.

This is just as about 56 bills have passed for the second reading to establish Federal Medical Centres in different parts of the country.

Report shows that there are currently 52 federal universities in Nigeria, with some states of the federation hosting more than one.

The House is also considering various bills to establish about 32 Federal Colleges of Education, 11 Federal Colleges of Agriculture and five Federal Polytechnics in addition to the already existing institutions.

In addition to the 52 federal universities, there are 22 federal medical centres, 27 federal colleges of education and 40 polytechnics in Nigeria.

Some of the bills were either passed in the 9th Assembly but did not get the required concurrence at the Senate to scale through or were not signed by the President.

When established, some of the institutions will include Universities of Science and Technology, Agriculture, Aviation, Medicals, and Engineering, among others.

Findings revealed that the House is also considering various bills to establish Colleges of Vocational and Skill Acquisition, Cancer Research and Entrepreneurship.

A study of the House order paper listing the institutions and other bills under consideration revealed that Lagos State, for example, has requested the establishment of three new Federal Medical Centres in addition to the already existing one.

Recall that Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, while addressing members of the House on 30th of December, 2023, noted that the Green Chamber received and considered 962 bills, 500 motions, and 153 petitions in six months.

According to the member representing Zaria Federal Constituency, Kaduna State, out of the number of bills, 120 have scaled through second reading and are undergoing review for further legislative actions.

The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, had last year said the establishment of universities without a template for funding was one of the factors responsible for the falling standard of tertiary education in the country.

He stated this while delivering a paper at the 14th Ralph Opara Memorial Lecture, tagged “State of tertiary education in Nigeria: Identifying historical issues and misconceptions, contemplating solutions”, organised by the National Association of Seadogs in Benin.

The ASUU president also noted that the method of appointment and recruitment into state-owned universities by the government has also contributed to the problem.

Osedeke said, “One of the major problems facing the tertiary institution is the establishment of universities without template for funding. The method of appointment and recruitment into state-owned universities by the government has also been a problem.”

Also, the Port Harcourt Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Stanley Ogoun, last month, called for the urgent amendment of the National Universities’ Commission Act to stop governors from indiscriminately establishing new universities without adequately funding them.

The union said governors were turning the establishment of tertiary institutions into constituency projects at the detriment of existing ones.

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