National Assembly Proposes 235 New Tertiary Institutions, Despite Cash Crunch

Bills are at different stages of legislative activities at the National Assembly for the establishment of 235 new federal universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and specialised institutions despite poor funding of the existing federal tertiary institutions, Daily Trust reports.

Checks by Daily Trust show that the federal government currently has 119 universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and monotechnics.

Various labour unions in the tertiary institutions and the federal government often haggle over salaries and other school running costs, hence frequent strikes by staff of the institutions.

In 2020, a strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over a payroll system and condition of the universities lasted nine months.

Not long after ASUU ended its strike, another union, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of non-teaching staff unions of universities, which comprises Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), declared a nationwide industrial action over salaries.

Despite the funding anomalies, there are over 200 bills seeking to establish tertiary institutions in different states of the federation before the National Assembly.

The analysis of such bills under the 9th National Assembly shows that out of the 235 bills for the establishment of the institutions, 111 are being considered in the senate and 124 in the House of Representatives.

Bills in senate

Out of the 111 bills in the senate, 40 are for the establishment of universities; eight for polytechnics; while 35 and 28 are for colleges of education and specialised institutes respectively.

A further breakdown of the 40 proposed universities indicate that all but one are specialised institutions. Of the specialised universities, technology tops the list with 10, closely followed by agriculture with eight. Education has six, medical and health sciences have four and maritime two.

There are also bills seeking the establishment of one university each for sports, environment, history and archaeology, entrepreneurship, food technology, steel, creative arts, film and broadcasting, as well as aerospace and aeronautics.

The senate is also considering bills to establish 21 colleges of education; five colleges of agriculture and four colleges of forestry. Health science/midwifery has three bills and one each for crop science, maritime studies and naval architecture.

For the proposed institutes, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tops the list with seven; followed by fisheries and aquaculture, and mines and geological studies, which have two each.

Other specialised institutes being proposed are those of business, administration, stockbrokers, facility management, mediation, security, border studies, building and road research, metallurgy, cancer research, development, directors, power engineers, environment, bitumen and local government and public administration; one each.

State-by-state distribution of the tertiary institutions shows that four federal universities are proposed to be sited in Anambra and three each for Kogi, Niger and Ondo.

States to get two federal universities are Adamawa, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Kano, Ogun, Oyo and Plateau.

One federal university each is proposed for Akwa Ibom, Benue, Delta, Ekiti, Imo, Katsina, Kwara, Lagos, Rivers, Taraba and FCT.

For federal colleges, Osun, Kwara, Kaduna, Borno and Adamawa top the list with three each. States to get two are Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Ondo, Kebbi and Gombe.

Taraba, Sokoto, Rivers, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Ekiti, Bayelsa and Bauchi are to get one federal college each.

Two federal polytechnics are proposed for Sokoto, while one each for Abia, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Enugu and Kano.

There is no new university, polytechnic and college proposed for Yobe and Zamfara. Both states have one federal university each.

Status of bills

Out of the 111 bills, only 12 have been passed. Majority of them, 70, have only been read the first time, while 29 have been referred to committees and the senate is awaiting reports.

For the university establishment bills, 19 have passed first reading, 14 referred to committees and seven passed.

Only two of the polytechnic establishment bills have been passed, six passed first reading while none has been referred to any committee.

For college bills, 23 have passed first reading and nine are before committees and three passed. None of the bills seeking to establish federal institutes has been passed. 22 have been read the first time and six referred to committees.

124 bills in House of Reps

In the Green Chamber, records obtained by Daily Trust on Sunday indicate that there are 65 bills for the establishment of federal colleges of education and other colleges of various specialisations.

The other colleges include nursing and midwifery, fishery, agriculture, food technology, land resources, forestry management, among others.

Out of these, three bills have passed; 47 have passed first reading, while 15 are awaiting committee reports.

Out of the 16 polytechnic establishment bills before the house, only one has been passed. Nine passed first reading, while six are awaiting committee reports.

There are bills for specialised institutions which comprise of a post graduate college of medical sciences, fishery institutes, coal mining research, institute of oil and gas, among others.

Ten of the bills have passed first reading; five are awaiting committee reports, while the bill for the establishment of institute of agriculturalists has been passed.

Further checks indicate that there 27 bills in the house for the establishment of federal universities of science and technology, agriculture, education, medicine, environment and other conventional universities.

Bills for the establishment of universities of agriculture have the highest number, followed by education.

Out of the bills for the establishment of universities of agriculture, 10 have passed first reading, while five are awaiting committee reports.

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