The University Academic Staff Union has opposed the introduction of new bills for the establishment of new universities in Nigeria.

ASUU questioned why the government would push for the establishment of new universities while ignoring those that currently exist in rundown states.

Saturday PUNCH reports that the National Universities Commission, the regulatory body for universities in Nigeria, puts the total number of federal universities at 49; public universities, 55, and private universities, 99.

Although the NUC has previously argued that the number of universities and faculty in the country may not be sufficient to meet the academic needs of Nigerians, the ASUU has told the government to focus on fixing existing universities and of the entire university system.

An analysis carried out by our correspondent, however, revealed that since the ninth National Assembly came to power in 2019, no less than 186 bills had been initiated for the creation of new universities.

In 2019, for example, 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. A closer analysis of the total bills passed in 2021, however, revealed that no less than 80 bills were pushed for the creation of new universities.

15 bills initiated in 2022

Among the bills are the bill for the creation of the Federal University of Tourism, Wamba 2021; Federal University of Entrepreneurship Onitsha, 2022; Federal University of Transport, Daura 2021; University of Audiovisual and Cinematographic Studies, Jos; Nigeria Police University of Information and Technology, Abeokuta among others.

In an interview with Saturday PUNCH, ASUU National President Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke questioned why the government would abandon existing universities and professors while focusing on new establishments.

“Those are some of the things we fight for. When you go to Nigerian universities, you see dilapidated buildings; the lecturers are not even treated well. Why create new universities when you can’t even take care of the existing ones?

Reacting to NUC statistics on the number of professors available in Nigerian universities, Osodeke said, “We don’t have up to 100,000 professors in Nigerian universities, there is a brain drain.

“Professors are leaving because of unfair treatment and they will continue to leave until the government does the right thing by ensuring that sufficient funds are released into the university system.”

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