The FEC in its weekly meeting has endorsed the establishment of five new privately owned universities and released N15 billion for public transportation
The Federal Executive Council gave approval for the issuance of provisional licenses for the establishment of five universities bringing the number of universities in Nigeria to a total of 122.
The universities include: Elizade University, Ilara Mokin, Ondo State, with the University of Techonology Akure as its mentor, Evangel University Akaeze, Ebonyi state with the University of Nigeria Nsukka as its mentor, Gregory University Uturu, Abia state with the University of Nigeria Nsukka as its mentor, McPherson University, Seriki Sotayo, Ogun state, with the University of Ibadan as its mentor and Southwestern University, Okun Owa, Ogun state with the University of Lagos as its mentor.
Briefing journalists after the weekly Council Meeting which was chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo in the absence of President Goodluck Jonathan, the minister of information, Labaran Maku who briefed alongside ministers of Education Prof Ruqayyatu Rufai and minister of state for trade and investment, Samuel Ortom, said council gave the approval following the gross inadequacies of the current 117 universities serving a population of over 150 million people.
According to him”the gross inadequacy of this figure in relation to the population size of our country is glaring. This has continued to be a challenge” therefore “strategies being adopted by the ministry of education to address this challenge include encouraging private individuals and groups with unquestionable recommitment to education to establish private universities”.
He noted that the establishment of more private universities is also an antidote to the proliferation of illegal universities and degree-awarding mills across the country. “It is in realization of this that the ministry of education came to council seeking its approval for the issuance of provisional licenses for the establishment of five private universities”.
The minister of Education said during the briefing that the licenses were issued for only three years at the end of which those who are doing well will be given full approval while those who are under performing will have their licenses revoked.
The FEC also approved the disbursement of N15 billion which will go into the public mass transit revolving loan programme which the President floated on January 8 as parts of efforts to reduce the cost of transport especially for the masses in Nigeria.
The approved sum of N15 billion is expected to purchase 1,240 high capacity buses for disbursement to competent transport investor in the country.
N10 billion had earlier been set aside for this project making it a total of N25 billion for the mass transit loan project.
According to the minister “What Mr President is trying to do is to ensure that for once this country develops the capacity for mass transportation and this been done both through the railways, waterways as well as road transportation”.
He noted that the money which is a revolving loan at zero per cent interest rate is to aid the transport investors have assess to these vehicles and therefore use them to reduce the cost of transportation in all the major cities accross the country.
“The buses are given on the basis of a thorough scrutiny on the cpacity of the trnasporters to run them on a sustainable basis. Also, those companies that have been given the nod to supply the buses have accepted to set up infrastructure in Nigeria for a sustainable supply of spare parts as well as the maintenance of these vehicles. In the next couple of years government will only patronise. Those companies that are prepare to send manufacturing plants in Nigeria” he said.
Maku said the VP also announced that the new Sapele Power Plant which is expected generate about 225 mega watts of electricity adding that this plaplains one of the 10 power plants being built in Nigeria.