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As Education Funding Collapses, Government Sets Up More Institutions

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The Nigerian Government seems set to continue to create new tertiary institutions for political patronage rather than for any concrete intention to improve the educational system in the country. On a regular basis, bills are passed in the National Assembly that create new educational institutions ranging from universities to specialised institutions and polytechnics. The number of tertiary institutions created by government continues to expand. In recent years, universities have been created for the Police, the Army, the Air Force and across constituencies and States in Nigeria. In 2018, a Nigerian Army University was created in Biu, Borno State. The establishment of a Nigerian Air Force University in Bauchi State was also approved in 2019.  Same for the Police Mobile Force Training College commissioned in Nasarawa State in 2020.

These institutions of higher learning are often created in the home States of heads of the government agencies for which they are supposedly created. For example, the Army University was created in the hometown of the former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai. Also, the Air Force University was established in the home State of the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar. The Police Training College was also established in the home State of IGP Mohammed Adamu during his tenure as Inspector General of Police. Members of the National Assembly have not relented in creating tertiary institutions in their constituencies so that in the last few years, universities and other tertiary institutions have been created by law, such as the Air Force Institute of Technology of Nigeria Kaduna; Federal Polytechnic Daura; Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy Enugu; Federal Polytechnic Kaltungo; Federal School of Medical Laboratory Technology Jos; Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria and the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geoscience Jos.  This is in addition to a host of others whose establishment bills have been passed by the National Assembly but are yet to gain Presidential Assent.

Only about a week ago, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) threatened nationwide strike following from the failure of government to adequately fund existing tertiary institutions in the country. The national education budget ranked at 6.7% of the National Budget for 2020. With funds continuing to dwindle, revenue shrinking and government unwilling and unable to provide budget support, the continued establishment of new tertiary institutions can only portray the government as wasteful and insincere about education development in the country.