The rank of privately owned Universities in Nigeria swelled on Thursday as the Federal Executive Councils gave its nod to the release of provisional operating licenses to 20 new ones.
The licences were handed over to the representatives of the new tertiary institutions by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu who was represented by the Minister of State, Emeka Nwajiuba.
The minister charged the operators of the new institutions of higher learning to abide by the laid down standards for establishing private universities in Nigeria, adding that the release of the licences to the new varsities was a testimony to the continued partnership of the Federal Government with the private sector.
He noted that the approval of the new Universities brought the total number of private universities in the country to 99, adding that there was the need to expand access to tertiary education in the country in order to cater for the needs of the huge population of prospective students seeking admission into universities every year
He, therefore, urged owners of the new universities to sustain them through adequate funding and improved infrastructure and equipment for teaching.
Speaking at the occasion, the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said the approval was a landmark achievement for Nigerian universities, adding that the commission appreciated the roles of private universities in the provision of quality university education.
Rasheed also commended the Minister for getting the FEC to approve the new universities.
Speaking on behalf of owners of the new Universities, the proprietor of James Hope University, Lekki, Lagos, Dr. Jim Ovia, of assured government that owners of the new versities would commit to abiding by the rules and regulations of establishing them.
Ovia who is also the founder of Zenith Bank said that the establishment of the new universities would provide opportunities to the youths to receive sound tertiary education.