Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson says Nigerian leaders should be prepared to invest more in building prisons and cemeteries if they failed to invest in education.
The governor said there was also a direct relationship between the unrest the Niger Delta region had witnessed in the past and the level of education, unemployment and under-employment.
Dickson spoke in Abuja on Thursday at the headquarters of National Universities Commission (NUC) while receiving the letter of recognition and approval for Bayelsa Medical University.
Seriake said the Bayelsa Medical University is not tuition-free.
“We sit here and all our children are going to neighbouring countries and they are paying in dollars. This institution is going to be a fee-paying institution. Nigerians are hungry for good and quality education. The enrollment figures have increased in our school so we have to think of the third and a specialised university,” he said.
Dickson said one of the reasons for the depreciating state of universities in Nigeria is funding.
“Nigeria universities cannot afford to be cheaper than our nursery and primary schools and this is the fault of our government. When it comes to nursery and primary schools, we pay higher but when it comes to funding universities, we play politics with it,” he said.
Also, while giving the approval for the establishment of the Bayelsa State Medical University, the Executive Secretary of NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, said the university will become the 48th state university in the country with effect from January 31.
The Executive Secretary urged the state government to adhere strictly to the technical advice which includes the rules and regulation of the commission.
“There are 169 universities in the country, 43 are owned by the federal government, 47 are owned by state government, 75 are privately owned,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria now has four specialised medical universities in Nigeria.
“Bayelsa state university is now the second medical public university in Nigeria and the fourth medical university in Nigeria. The public medical universities are situated in Port Harcourt and Lagos state while the two private medical universities are in Ondo state and Bayelsa state,” he said.
He said JAMB, TETFUND and NYSC had been informed of the creation of the university.
Rasheed also reiterated that only one per cent of the country’s population is in the university.
“The reason for more universities is because the 169 universities have a total enrolment of only two million students and we are a population of about 2000 million people. If you google search, you will find out that countries with only one-third of our population have up to 500 universities,” he said.
Presently, the four medical universities approved by NUC are Bayelsa State medical university, Ondo state university of medical sciences, PAMO university of medical sciences in Port Harcourt and Eko university of medical sciences, Lagos state.