This Day (Lagos)

19 February 2013

Nigeria: FG Justifies Establishment of New Federal Universities

The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, Monday said the establishment of 12 new federal universities by President Goodluck Jonathan was a welcome development.

Maku said this when the National Good Governance Tour (NGGT) visited the Federal University, Otuoke, in Bayelsa State.

He noted that Nigerians were hungry for learning, and the government should create an opportunity for future leaders.

"Nigerians are hungry for learning and we must continue to increase the space for education," he said.

Maku added that the concept of equity necessitated the establishment of the universities, saying it was only fair for all the states of the federation to have a university so as to create equal opportunities amongst Nigerians.

The minister, however, allayed the fears that the universities would operate under political interference, as he said autonomy of academic institutions would be respected.

"Politicians only establish universities, they do not run it. Politicians established Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and others but they do not run them," Maku said.

Commending the Otuoke community on the donation of eight buildings for the take-off of the university, Maku promised that government's structure on the campus would surpass the buildings donated by the community.

The minister however charged parents to ensure moral values for their wards so as to ensure a peaceful relationship with their colleagues in tertiary institutions.

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