The Federal Government has directed the Federal Ministry of Education to carry out a comprehensive audit of Nigerian universities to ascertain their performance status and charges of tuition fees.
Minister of State for Education, Prof. Antony Anwuka, who disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja, said the ministry is expected to submit a status report to council about the universities, both public and private.
The minister, who was joined at the briefing by the Ministers of Health, Aviation (State), Foreign Affairs and the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said FEC took the decision while approving a new private university, Skyline in Kano State.
According to him, FEC approved the insurance of provisional license for the establishment of Skyline University in Kano.
He said: “While making the approval, FEC noted that the NUC, through the ministry, should provide a status report to FEC on all the nation’s universities in terms of their performance, be they private, state or federal.”
Anwuka noted that council, which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, stressed on quality of staff of the various universities.
The Education Minister told reporters that council, which was worried over the state of Nigerian universities, also discussed the issue of school fees.
“FEC discussed the issue of school fees in the various universities and noted that as of law, no federal university should charge tuition fees. And, we understand some universities now charge fees per course unit and we are going to make sure that we investigate that properly and make it stop.
“But students can pay other auxiliary fees, but not in excess. Various university councils and management should be able to fix what fees students should pay that is affordable and acceptable to the students.
“That is the position. The Federal Government does not determine fees for private and state universities, they only take responsibility for fees paid in the federal universities,” he added.
On the new private university in Kano, Anwuka said: “The application for the establishment of the university by Skyline University has been on since last year and the NUC, after going through the rigorous verification of the claims as to the application, sent a recommendation to the Ministry of Education, which in turn presented the request to FEC and it approved.”
Council also yesterday directed the Ministry of Health to step up emergency surveillance activities at all land and airport borders following the reports of a fresh outbreak of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Reports indicate that the DRC has, over the last one month, recorded 19 suspected cases of viral haemorrhagic fever and lost 16 of the cases.
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who conveyed the Council’s directive, said that blood samples collected from two of the five patients in a particular district in DRC confirmed the outbreak.
Adewole said apart from the directive, which is intended to “keep Nigerians safe,” the government will proceed to set up an emergency operation centre to be chaired by Dr. Babasanya, who led Nigeria’s efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea during the outbreak in 2014.
“Not only that, we will be screening incoming passengers, particularly passengers from DRC and neighbouring countries. We will also ensure we step up all activities screening people coming in so that we will not be caught unawares,” he added.
Disclosing that the authorities of the Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was planning to send some teams to DRC as part of measure for building capacity to manage any possible outbreak, the minister said:
“We want to assure Nigerians that the Federal Government is concerned about the outbreak and will do everything possible to keep the country safe.”
Commenting on the ongoing strike in the health sector, Adewole disclosed that his counterpart Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, was already leading the Federal Government’s negotiation team with the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) to resolve the contending issues.
FEC also approved the procurement of equipment valued at N1.365 billion for the completion of the control towers in Maiduguri, Akure, Benin, Ilorin, Kaduna and Ibadan airports in the country.
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, stated that the completion of the towers will enhance communications and security of Nigeria’s airspace.