The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, last Thursday, hosted the delegation from the Presidency of Turks Abroad and Related Communities in his office. The Delegation was received by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Mal. Ibrahim Iro Dan’Iya on behalf of the NUC. Prof. Rasheed was unavoidably absent as he was attending the Joint Action Committee comprising of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), National Association of Academic Technologies (NAAT), Universities based Unions that embarked on an indefinite strike seeking for better condition of service and other related matters.

The Deputy Executive Secretary (DES) welcomed the delegation from Turkey and expressed the Commission’s delight in receiving the team. The NUC Scribe recognised their effort in forging and strengthening the bilateral relation between Turkey and Nigeria.

He informed the delegation that Nigeria has a population of more than 180 million people with a total of 153 Universities comprising of 40 Federal, 45 States and 68 Private universities.  He added that private universities are owned by credible foundations and organizations to provide more access to University Education for Nigerian teeming candidates seeking university admission.

The Delegation were told that NUC is the only statutory organ of Government mandated to regulate University Education, maintain standard, monitor and supervise orderly development of University education, consider and make recommendations for the establishment of a university in Nigeria among others.

In his presentation, the member of the Turkish parliament, representing Kayseri, and member of Health Family, Labour and Social Affairs Commission, Hon. Ismail Tamer spoke in Turkish language through an interpreter.

The member of Turkish Parliament said the team was pleased to make the courtesy call to some selected African Countries. The call to Nigeria was to re-establish more robust relationship with Nigeria; to sound a word of caution to the Nation on its relationship with Nile University in Nigeria that the owners of the said University had a relationship with a blacklisted organization in Turkey.

He informed NUC that Turkey has a total of 184 Universities with a population of 80 million people, adding that 100 of the Universities were established by Government of Turkey and the rest of the Universities were privately owned.

The leader of the Delegation stated that the Turkish government established a foundation to assist students from other countries who want to study in Turkey. The Foundation provides scholarships for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students. According to him the scholarship covers tuition, accommodation, return tickets and monthly stipends, for the successful overseas students, throughout their study period.

He mentioned that Nigeria has been a strategic partner in this project. He encouraged the NUC to visit Turkey to reciprocate the gesture and as a way of rebounding the existing relationship between the two countries.

The Vice President of the Trade and Investment Board, Hussyn Cundopar further gave some statistics of students who applied for the study in Turkey. He said a total 1,300 candidates from Nigeria applied but only 35 qualified and offered admission with full scholarship to study in Turkey.

He, however, announced that a student is required to spend one year to learn Turkish language and culture. While answering questions from NUC team, the Vice President maintained that the Turkish government has an exchange programme in place for students and the faculty in all areas of study.

He also allayed fears on the issue of visa saying that the challenge has been tackled. As a result of the challenge, special days were declared for students from other countries for difficulties usually encountered with regards to the issuance of visa for study in Turkey. In order to facilitate more patronage the list of approved Turkish Universities would be sent to the Commission for guidance, he added.

Member of the delegation addressed the issue of whether or not Turkey would be interested to send their students to study in Nigeria. The Turks answered in the affirmative particularly when bilateral agreements are signed between and among Turkey and Nigerian Universities.

In his concluding remarks, the NUC scribe appreciated the Turks for the visit and noted the sound of warning. However, he was quick to draw the attention of the Delegates that Nigeria operates within a law reiterating that any private University operating in Nigeria is bonded by that Law and unless Laws were violated, sanctions cannot be meted based on uncertainty.

However, he assured them that their message would be conveyed to the ES as delivered. The DES also used the opportunity to thank the Turks government for the scholarships provided to Nigerian Students.