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Buhari okays N18bn for establishment of 4 universities of technology, health

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a take-off grant of N18 billion for the establishment of two new universities of technology and two universities of health, nutrition and medical sciences.

The universities of technology will be located at Jigawa and Akwa Ibom
States, while the universities of health sciences will be established in Azare, Bauchi State, and Ila Orangun, Osun State.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, said N4 billion was approved for the universities of technology each and N5 billion for health sciences from the funding resources of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

Echono explained that the establishment of the university of health sciences came after the report of the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 showed that the sudden outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the weak institutional capacity for disease control and surveillance in the country, particularly with respect to medical facilities, modern laboratory equipment, trained personnel and supporting infrastructure.

“With the recent establishment of the only Federal Government owned University of Health Sciences, Otukpo in Benue State+ and the huge gap in doctor-patient ratio as well as in medical research and production of pharmaceutical products, government recognized the compelling need to establish two other specialized universities in Health, Nutrition and Medical Sciences,” Echono said.

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“These shall lay a solid foundation for building national preparedness and resilience in anticipation of future challenges in the health sector while reducing medical tourism to countries like India, UAE, Egypt, Europe and the USA,” he said.

The permanent secretary said the Federal Ministry of Education will collaborate with the Federal Ministries of Health, Science and Technology, Communications and Digital Economy, the FCT Administration as well as other relevant agencies and Institutions to facilitate speedy actualization of the projects.

Echono also informed that a National Institute of Technology (NIT) will be established in Abuja in 2022. He said the institution will be patterned after similar institutions in Singapore and Malaysia to serve essentially as a postgraduate centre devoted to research and innovation, drawing the best graduates from the six Universities of Technology, as well as other exceptional graduates from reputable universities within and outside Nigeria.

He also said there will be an upgrade of the existing four Universities of Technology in the country in 2022.

The permanent Secretary noted that these projects is in fufilment of Buhari’s promise to establish an NIT in Abuja with six Satellite Universities of Technology, one in each geo-political zone of the country, during his presidential campaign in 2015.

“This was captured in the 2015 APC Manifesto and also stressed inthe Education for Change: Ministerial Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022 of the Ministry. The objective is to stimulate rapid technological transformation of the country.

“After a comprehensive review of the policy by key stakeholders in the
education sector, it was resolved that the four existing Universities of
Technology located in Yola (North East), Akure (South West), Owerri (South East) and Minna (North Central) be upgraded and equipped while two additional Universities of Technology.

“I am pleased to inform you that President Muhammadu Buhari has
approved the phased development programme,” he said.

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