Prof. Anthony Anwukah

The National Universities Commission (NUC) on Tuesday granted provisional licenses to the eight newly approved private universities to run degree programmes.

Executive Secretary (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed presented the certificates to representatives of the eight universities at the headquarters of the commission in Abuja.

He warned proprietors of the universities against subjecting their academic staff to degrading treatment and all forms of practices inimical to democratic freedom.

All but one of the newly licensed universities is located in the southern part of the country, bringing the total number of universities in the country to 152.

The ES said the NUC issued provisional licences to the universities after a rigorous assessment exercise, adding that the commission was fully satisfied of the facilities on ground in terms of human and material resources.

He however warned that what have been issued are provisional licenses which may be withdrawn in the event of poor performance or breach of standards.

“What is being issued today is a provisional license with a lifespan of three years. In line with global best practice, the new universities would be mentored by older ones for the next couple of years.

“The NUC will assist these eight universities to commence new programmes to make them different in some areas from the older ones.

“Dictatorship in the running of a university would not be tolerated and this you must avoid at all cost,” he said.

In his address, Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, said Nigeria needs more universities to increase access to tertiary education.

According to him, the 152 universities in the country today are grossly inadequate to meet the demands of tertiary education.

“With these 8, it means the ratio of the universities in relation to population is 1 for 23 million people, a challenge that must be addressed, considering the huge population of Nigeria conservatively put at 170 million today,” he said.

Earlier in his remarks, Chairman, Standing Committee on Private Universities (SCOPU), Prof. Akaneren Essien congratulated the new institutions for scaling the difficult hurdle involved in issuance of provisional licenses, noting that all eight universities are ready for students to commence their academic activities.

According to him, the process of getting the license took between two to fourteen years, recalling with pain the death of some SCOPU members in the 2012 Dana plane crash while on assessment of four of the universities even as he prayed God to grant their souls eternal rest in peace.

The newly licensed private universities are Anchor University, Ayobo, Lagos State (owned by the Deeper Christian Life Ministry); Arthur Jarvis University, Akpabuyo, Cross River State (owned by Clitter House Nigeria Limited); Clifford University, Owerrinta, Abia State (owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church); Coal City University, Enugu, Enugu State (owned by ATCOICOE Nigeria Limited).

Others are Crown-Hill University, Eiyenkorin, Kwara State (owned by Modern Morgy and Sons Limited); Dominican University, Ibadan, Oyo State (owned by the Order of Preachers, Nigeria, Dominican Community; Kola Daisi University, Ibadan, Oyo State (owned the Kola Daisi Foundation); and Legacy University, Okija, Anambra State (owned by the Good Idea Education Foundation).

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