The National Universities Commission (NUC), on the 13th of March 2018,  presented the Certificate of Recognition of Zamfara State University Talata-Mafara to the Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulazeez Abubakar Yari, making it the 47th State University, 87th Public University and 162nd University in Nigeria in a ceremony held at the Board Room of the National Universities Commission, Abuja last Monday.
Presenting the Certificate of Recognition, the Executive Secretary, NUC, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, said that zamfara State was the last State in Nigeria to establish a state university, adding that this came at a time when the NUC was in the processes of repositioning itself to better regulate the activities of the Nigerian University System.
Professor Rasheed urged the state government to key into the reforms of the NUC in order to accelerate the development of the newly established Zamfara State University.
Conveying the approval which he read from the letter, the Scribe said: “This letter is for the recognition of the Zamfara State University, Talata-Mafara. Consequent upon your letter of intent and the formal presentation of the Master Plan, Academic Brief, University Law and the Act of Parliament that approved its establishment. I, on behalf of the NUC, write to convey the recognition of the Zamfara State University with effect from Monday 12th March, 2018.”
He further stated that the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), were accordingly informed of the establishment of the University for the purposes of admission and NYSC mobilisation for its students after graduation.”
The Executive Secretary commended the visitor of the newly recognised university for his vision to expand access to university education in Zamfara state and by extension, the north-western region of the country.
He noted that there were 161 universities in Nigeria, 41 of them owned by the Federal government with at least one university each in every state of the country, one Open and Distance Learning University with its headquarters located in the Federal Capital Territory, three specialised universities-namely Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna, Nigerian Police Academy, Wudil and the recently established Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko.
He also added that there were 46 State Universities owned by 36 States, with each state having one or two and one jointly owned by two states. He added that there are 74 private Universities in the country with 34 of them located in the South-west, 13 in the South-East, 13 in South-South, 11in North-Central, two in North-East and only one private University in North-Western part of the Country.
He stated that NUC was always happy whenever a new university was established, “as it gives the assurance that the country’s quest for development was achievable.”
He observed that Nigeria would not achieve a knowledge-based economy without huge investment in education hence the need for more universities.
According to him, “currently we are processing applications for 272 Private Universities with about four of them located around the Kaduna-Kano axis of the North-West and this is why your intervention at this time is a welcome development and that is why those of us who are passionate about higher education and believe that there is a strong correlation between investment in higher education and economic growth of a nation. And also believe that knowledge economy today across the world is becoming more important than natural resources” adding that youth restiveness had taken the centre stage because of the neglect of higher education in the Country.
Receiving the Letter of Recognition, the Executive Governor commended the NUC for the warm reception accorded to them and for accepting his delegation within a short notice.
He said that the resolve to establish a state university was informed by the fact that the state had challenges of human knowledge and capacity in a wide ranging areas, particularly in area of natural and allied sciences. He added that “at this development process therefore, the best interest of the state could be served better by conventional university which would offer courses cutting across Arts, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences.
Gov Yari disclosed that “to quickly address the man-power need of the State in medical sciences and other critical sectors, where we have shortage of personnel, the University will give emphasis to medical and allied sciences during the first phase of it development”.
To achieve this, he said, apart from the provision of the minimum required structures for the take-off of the university, his government had commenced the construction of a teaching hospital with 350 bed space capacity and had also set aside the sum of three billion naira as a take-off grant for the university.
He particularly expressed profound appreciation to the executive secretary for considering it necessary to grant approval for the establishment of the Zamfara State University which was long overdue and promised to adhere to all the laid down guidelines of the commission.
In a vote of thanks, the Commissioner of Higher Education also appreciated the Commission for the speedy approval. He again, on behalf of the good people of Zamfara State promised that they would ensure strict adherence to the laid down guidelines of the commission. The Commissioner prayed for journey mercies to all going back to their various destinations.
Among the personalities in the Governor’s entourage were the Speaker and Members of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, the Commissioner for Higher Education and members of the academia from neighbouring states.
Members of the NUC Management present at the event were: Director Academic Planning Dr. Gidado B. Kumo, Director Management Support Services Barr. Victor Onuoha, Director Corporate Communications, Malam Ibrahim Usman Yakasai and Director Inspection and Monitoring Mrs. Essien O. Osendiah.