The National Universities Commission (NUC) on Thursday in Abuja presented provisional licences to 12 new private universities.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, presented the licences to each proprietor of the universities.
The universities include the Pen Resource University, Gombe; Al-Ansar University, Maiduguri; Margaret Lawrence University Galilee, Delta; and Khalifa Isiyaku Rabiu University, Kano.
Others are Sports University, Idumuje, Delta; Bab Ahmed University, Kano; Saisa University of Medical Sciences and Technology, Sokoto; and the Nigerian British University, Asa, Abia.
The rest are Peter University, Achina/Onneh, Anambra; Newgate University, Minna; European University of Nigeria, Duboyi, FCT; and Northwest University, Sokoto, Sokoto State.
Speaking at the event, the minister said while the number of the new universities may seem large, there was the need to establish more universities in the country.
“Government is also well aware of the need to improve the country’s Human Development Index ranking, knowing that countries that are consistently well-ranked in human development indices have maintained a respectable number of universities relative to their population.
“In the 2020 UN Human Development index, Nigeria dropped three places to 161 out of 189 countries and territories. These are some of the matters we aim to address.
“As usual the provisional approval for these universities to operate is intended to create room for effective mentoring and qualitative growth within the first three years of operation,” Mr Adamu said.
He said the universities would be affiliated to older generation universities for academic and administrative mentoring which would be moderated by the NUC.
He urged the proprietors to sustain funding towards improving infrastructure, equipment for teaching and learning as well as human resources to earn the universities accreditation by NUC.
Professor Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary NUC, commended the proprietors of the new universities.
He said private universities bring uniqueness to the Nigerian university landscape.
“The establishment of more private universities under the strict supervision of NUC is an antidote to the proliferation of illegal source of worry and embarrassment to the nation and a menace to quality university education delivery,’’ Mr Rasheed said.
The National Executive Council (NEC) approved the establishment of the universities on April 6, and there are now a total of 111 private universities in the country.