The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, charged the Directors of the four Inter-University Centres (IUCs) in the country to work assiduously to revive the Centres in order to meet up with the challenges of the 21st century and indeed, the purpose for which they were created in the first place.

Prof. Rasheed gave the charge when he met with the Directors and Chairmen of the Boards of the IUCs, last Tuesday, 13th December 2022 in his office.

He stated, that none of the Centres had achieved half of what it should have recorded in terms of giant strides. However, he ascribed it largely to challenges associated with the inconsistency of government’s policies.

He added that the NUC had started the journey towards reviving the Centres with the appointment of highly qualified academics who had distinguished themselves to chair the Boards of the Centres as well as the engagement of qualified academics to manage the day-to-day affairs of the Centres.

The Executive Secretary observed that the Centres had been under-utilised as it appeared they did not focus on the goals and rationale behind their establishment. He urged them to redefine exactly what the Centres needed to be, what to focus, vision and mission through the amendment of their laws to enable them perform optimally.

He explained that the IUCs were more than just mere departments in the Universities as presently treated, as there were enough Departments of Arabic and French languages as well as those of Mathematics and Nigerian Languages in different universities.

The NUC Scribe sated that, more importantly, the Centres were established to serve as think-tanks for the Government, Industry and Private sector by meeting their needs and demands to ensure growth and development of the critical sectors of the economy related to each centre, as well as bilateral relations, stressing that for this reason, the need for research was crucial.

He advised them to collaborate with Universities that offered programmes related to their Centres and that the Commission could only recognise them as  degree-awarding institutions after the amendment of their laws to that effect, saying that the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) could thereafter give them some interventions

The Executive Secretary said that the Commission would help them through the Transnational Education (TNE), by bringing good foreign universities to collaborate with the Centres on French, Arabic and Mathematics with exchange of both lecturers and students, and that they could mount a programme together in Masters and PhD.

He directed the Head and Director of each Centre to articulate their challenges and promised that he would bring them to meet the Honourable Minister of Education (HME) to brief him on their journey so far.

Earlier, in his remarks, the Chairman of the Board, National  Institute of Nigerian Languages (NINLAN), Prof. Francis Eghokhare informed the Executive Secretary that the Centres were not properly integrated in the Nigerian University System (NUS) and that the Centres needed all the privileges enjoined by the Nigerian Universities to be replicated to them.

He added that the Centres were often treated as parastatals and not as IUCs, pleading with the Executive Secretary to use his good office to bring them to the forefront in all ramifications, so as  to be at par with the universities.

Prof. Egbokhare thanked the Executive Secretary on behalf of the Chairmen and Directors of other Centres for inviting them during the 2022 Retreat of the Commission with the Vice-Chancellors.

He affirmed that the Retreat had really reawakened them and exposed them to so many information and impetus that would definitely aid them in the discharge of their core mandates.

The Directors of other IUCS also made individual presentations concerning the peculiarities of their Centres with respect to what would make them more efficient and more productive in line with their core mandates. They all pledged unalloyed loyalty to the NUS and the NUC specifically as they redesign and redefine their operational mandates.

At the meeting were the Director/CEO Nigerian Arabic Language Village (NALV), Ngala, Borno State, Prof. Muhammad Sani Abdulmumin and His Chairman, Governing Council, Prof. Jidda Jime; Chairman, Nigerian French Language Village (NFLV), Badagry, Prof. Mrs Oluremi Soneye; Director, Nigeria French Language Village, Prof.  Lateef Babatunde Ayeleru; as well as the Executive Director, National Mathematical Centre (NMC), Prof.  Promise Ike and Director, NILAN, Prof. Obi Ajolo.

At the meeting were NUC Visiting Prof. King David Yawi; Acting Directors of  Inspection and Monitoring, Mrs. Lydia Imorua; Public Affairs, Alh. Haruna Lawal Ajo; representative of the Directors of: Executive Secretary’s Office (DESO), Engr. Hassan Yakasai and that of the Directorate of Open, Distance and E-learning (DODel) and Deputy Director, Open Distance and E-Learning, Hajia Hadiza Ramalan.