By Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Twelve public universities, two from each geopolitical zone, have secured N1 billion each from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to establish Centres of Excellence.
The Centres of Excellence, according to TETFund, are expected to support strategic, applied research and expertise with potentials for industrial application, and also bring together complementary resources needed for technical development and industrial application.
The selected universities are Universities of Abuja, Benin, Ibadan, Maiduguri, Jos, Uyo, Lagos. Others are Bayero University Kano, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi; and Uthman Danfodio University, Sokoto.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, presented the allocation letter to Vice Chancellors of the selected universities at the inauguration of the centres in Abuja, on Thursday.
He said the allocation covers a period of five years, during which the Centres are expected to embark on problem-solving researches to enhance national and socioeconomic development.
He charged the selected institutions on enhance capacity to deliver national high-quality training to address development challenges, as well as capacity to deliver applied research to address the national development challenge.
Chairman, TETFund Board of Trustees, Alhaji Kashim Imam, in his remarks, expressed the Fund’s committment to support tertiary education in any way possible, stating that the Fund shares in the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari on integrity, quality and accountability of tertiary institutions.
Imam, who noted that TETFund’s budget for the last two years has been within the region of N250 billion respectively, said as at the end of October 2020, the Fund has already captured about N251 billion as part of its budget for 2021, and is on course to surppass its budget for the past two years in 2021.
Earlier, the Director of Research and Development Centre, TETFund, Dr. Salihu Bature, expressed hope that all Nigerian universities would eventually become Centres of Excellence.
Bature said the Fund envisioned that unless universities become Centres of Excellence, it will difficult for them to effectively serve the nation by meeting its developmental challenges.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami, who spoke on behalf of the Vice Chancellors of beneficiary universities, thanked TETFund for the support and assured that the Centres would work assiduously to meet the expectations of the Fund.