International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Society’s Violation of State Laws on the Establishment of Private Universities in Nigeria
JEKAYINFA, Alice Arinlade, AKANBI, Grace Oluremi

In spite of establishment of many federal and state universities in Nigeria, the demand for university education in the last 20 years is far greater than the supply. There has been unsatisfied supply of university education in Nigeria since the 1971/72 academic year when over 70% of candidates demanding for university education failed to secure admissions. The existing universities capacity usually absorbs less than 30% of the applicants. To take care of about 70% others, the establishment of private universities would go a long way. The Federal Government of Nigeria has approved guidelines for the establishment of higher institutions of learning in Nigeria which are contained in the Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions (Amendment Decree No. 9 of 1993). There is also the Education (National Minimum Standards etc) Act CAP E3 Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Some of the guidelines are that: An institution of Higher Education may be sponsored or owned by the Government of the Federation or of a State or Local Government or by a Company incorporated in Nigeria or by an individual or association of individuals who are citizens of Nigeria, and who satisfy the criteria set out in the Schedule to the law for establishment of institutions. In 2001, the National Assembly of Nigeria passed a law permitting private organisations and individuals to establish universities and polytechnics. The same law mandates the National Universities Commission (NUC) to regulate and undertake quality control of the content and curricula of academic programmes. It is surprising to note that some sectors of the society are contravening the Federal Government’s laws in establishing private universities in Nigeria. This has led to the announcement by the Executive Secretary of the NUC on the 22nd of January, 2009 that 36 illegal universities have been closed down in Nigeria. There are three broad categories of unrecognised institutions according to the NUC. First, there is a preponderance of satellite or offshore campuses whose parent bodies are mostly based in the US, Canada and UK. The second category comprises private institutions established by rich individuals and religious organisations. They conduct their own admission examinations outside those organised by Joint Admission Matriculation Board for universities accredited by NUC. In the third category are private universities in the neighbouring Republic of Benin: Houndegbe North American University in Cotonou, and the University of Applied Sciences and Management in Porto Novo. This paper traces the historical development of private universities, laws governing the establishment of private universities, how some sectors of the society are violating the laws and steps taken by the government to penalize those violating the laws on establishment of private universities in Nigeria.

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