Good times appear to becoming for Federal Government-owned universities.
They are to have projects estimated to cost N100 billion provided by government soon as part of the effort to boost education at that level and arrest the decay of infrastructure in the institutions.
President Goodluck Jonathan is to flag off the projects by the end of this month or early next month, Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State said.
Gov. Suswam is the Chairman of the Universities Needs Implementation Committee set up by the Federal Government to look into the issues raised by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in its grievances with government.
Its members are currently on strike partly on account of the state of the infrastructure.
Briefing State House correspondents in Abuja, Governor Suswam said the projects are towards resolving the ASUU/FG crisis and ensuring adequate provision for the needs of universities in the country.
He said each of the universities will have projects worth N1billion naira.
He said: “Once that is properly coordinated, at least we will see results, and if the President flags off these projects, worth N100 billion across universities which will be inclusive of lecture theatres, classrooms and hostels, I’m sure you know that the state of hostels and classrooms in our universities is appalling and the President is determined and has given us this assignment to make sure that that is done immediately.
“It will start with the sum of N1 billion and we set up a small committee which will report back to the bigger committee on Tuesday for us to be able to select universities across the six geopolitical zones where the president will decide to go and fag off projects worth about N 1 billion and intend that that should be the end of this month or first week of September because there are processes that needed to carried out for us to achieve that.
”Already we have called all the funding agencies and we have been holding meetings with them. What we are trying to do is that all the money that agencies in their individual capacities be harnessed together so that it will be well coordinated so that we know that this is how much the federal government is spending on our institutions on a yearly basis.”
On why the strike has not been called off, Gov. Suswam said: ”That is one of the reasons why ASUU is even on strike. Having said that, I want to say that the negotiation with ASUU, in the next one or two weeks, we should be able to arrive at something that will necessitate them calling off the strike, once we are able to agree with them on all issues that they have raised.”