Since the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, not less than 32 bills have been tabled before the Senate and the House of Representatives for the creation of new universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities and other professionals, on the other hand, warned the government not to establish new institutions without funding the existing ones.
Nigeria has a total of 52 federal universities, and the official data from the National Universities Commission shows that the country has 63 state universities and 147 private universities.
The National Board for Technical Education says the country has 40 Federal Polytechnics, 49 state and 76 private polytechnics. The data also revealed that there are 219 Colleges of Education, 70 federal and state-owned colleges of health and 17 private colleges of health.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives led the pack, as he pushed for the establishment of the Federal University of Technology, Kaduna, which had its first reading on July 6, 2023. While the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, pushed for the establishment of the Federal University of Medical and Health Sciences, Bende in Abia State.
There are also bills seeking the establishment of the Federal University of Information and Communications Technology, Lagos Island; Federal University of Agriculture, Ute Okpa in Delta State; Federal University of Biomedical Sciences in Benue State; Federal College of Health Sciences, Gaya; Federal College of Dental Technology, Faggae; Federal College of Agriculture, Agila, Benue State; Federal College of Education, Dangi-Kanam, Plateau State; Federal College of Education, Bende, Abia State.
There is also Benjamin Kalu Federal Polytechnic, Rano, Kano State; Federal Polytechnic, Shendam, Plateau State, among others.
The Chairman of ASUU, Federal University of Minna, Prof. Gbolahan Bolarin, described the move by the lawmakers as misplaced priorities. He said, “Misplaced priority. You have institutions that are trying to stay afloat yet the only thing you can think of is to create more institutions so that your people would think you are working. They should concentrate more on projects that would impact the lives of their constituents instead of creating more problems for the nation.”
The Programme Director, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, said the lawmakers were merely trying to score political goals.
Oluwatoyin said, “It is so unfortunate that we live in a country where lawmakers use matters like education to score cheap political goals. This is unheard of in any part of the world. How will you propose bills for new institutions when the existing ones have been shut down? Who advises them?!”