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%AM, %11 %222 %2010 %04:%Nov

Six new universities approved in Nigeria

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The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved six additional new universities for the six geo-political zones of the country.

FEC, which approved the establishment of the universities at its meeting in Abuja, also decided that the institutions would be located in states without federal universities.

It also approved $231.11m for the procurement of Direct Data Capture Machines for the voter registration to be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Ministers, who briefed journalists after the weekly FEC meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, included the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili; Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godsday Orubebe; Works, Senator Sanusi Daggash; (Water Resources, Mr. Andrew Obadiah; Minister of State for Information and Communications, Mr. Labaran Maku; and Minister of State for Education, Chief Kenneth Gbagi.

Akunyili explained that the Federal Government decided to establish the universities to “bridge the admission gap for Nigerian students.”

“The council approved today (Wednesday) to establish one federal university in the six-geo political zones of the country in the states which do not have a federal university after consideration. In future, we are even going to have more,” she added.

She said only about 10 per cent of qualified candidates had access to universities in the country. According to her, many Nigerians should be able have access to university education.

“The council approved these universities because the government of President Goodluck Jonathan does not only want to improve quality but also to improve access, which is as important as quality,” she stated.

The minister added that the establishment of the new universities would not lower the standard of education in the country.

She stated that the minister of education actually proposed 44 universities, noting that they would be approved in phases, beginning with the six institutions.

According to the minister, “The problem of Nigerian universities today is not their number.”

Commenting on the performances of ministries, departments and agencies in the 2010 financial year, Akunyili said the President had directed ministers to explain how they spent budgetary allocations for their ministries.

The council on Wednesday also approved N41bn for the construction and rehabilitation of eight roads across the country.

The roads include Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Osogbo-Ilesa, Ijebu Ode-Ibadan Road, Abeokuta-Ibadan Road, Ibadan-Lagere-Iremo-Enuwa-Ilesa By-pass, Ahoada-Omoku-Road phase 1, Ozalla-Akpugo-Amagunze-Ihuokpara-Nkomoro-Isu-Onicha Road, Umuahia-Ikot Epene Road, Suleja-Minna Road and Otukpa-Oweto Road.

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