The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has kicked against the initiation of new bills for the creation of new universities in Nigeria.
ASUU wondered why the government would push for the creation of new universities while ignoring the existing ones currently in dilapidated states.
The National Universities Commission, the regulatory body of universities in Nigeria, puts the total number of federal universities at 49; state-owned universities, 55, and private-owned universities, 99.
Though the NUC had earlier argued that the number of universities and lecturers in the country might not be enough to cater to the academic needs of Nigerians, ASUU told the government to focus on fixing the existing universities and the entire university system.
An analysis conducted by our correspondent, however, revealed that since the ninth National Assembly came into power in 2019, no fewer than 186 bills had been initiated for the establishment of new universities.
In 2019 for instance, a total of 48 bills were initiated for the creation of new universities; there was a drop in 2020 when only 43 bills for new universities were pushed.
Further analysis of total bills passed in 2021, however, revealed that no fewer than 80 bills were pushed for the establishment of new universities.
Notable among the bills is the bill for the establishment of Federal University of Tourism, Wamba 2021; Federal University of Entrepreneurship Onitsha, 2022; Federal University of Transport, Daura 2021; University of Broadcast and Film studies, Jos; Nigerian Police University of Information and Technology, Abeokuta among others.
In an interview with The PUNCH, ASUU National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, wondered why the government would abandon existing universities and lecturers while focusing on new establishments.
“These are some of the things we are fighting for. When you go to Nigerian universities, you see dilapidated buildings; lecturers are not even being treated well. Why create new universities when you cannot even take care of the existing ones?
Reacting to the statistics of the NUC about the number of lecturers available in Nigerian universities, Osodeke said, “We do not have up to 100,000 lecturers in Nigerian universities, there is brain drain.
“Lecturers are leaving because of unfair treatment and they will continue to leave until the government does the right thing by making sure that adequate funds are released into the university system.”