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How to Set Up A Licensed Private University In Nigeria

How to Set Up A Licensed Private University In Nigeria

Universities as centers of higher education have since been identified as key factors in manpower development and social engineering as well as avenues for further research into advances for every area of sophisticated human endeavour. 

In this article, we will be taking a look at the topic of setting up a private university, with a focus on :-

– The regulatory framework governing universities in Nigeria

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– Who can actually own a university in Nigeria

– The requirements for setting up a university in Nigeria

Who can actually set-up and/or own a university in Nigeria?

A university in Nigeria can be owned/set-up by any of the following :-

– The government of the federation, a state government or local government.

– A company registered in Nigeria.

– An individual or association of individuals who are citizens of Nigeria and who satisfy the listed requirements set out by the relevant regulatory agency.

Which regulatory agency is in charge of licensing private universities in Nigeria?

Private universities in Nigeria are licensed by the National Universities Commission (NUC) through its Directorate of Establishment of Private Universities (DEPU).

What are the requirements for licensing a private university in Nigeria?

The requirements for setting up a private university in Nigeria include the following :-

– An application (preferably through legal counsel) in writing to the NUC which should include the name of the proposed university, its location, mission and vision statements, and Its proposed focal niche in the current Nigerian university system among others.

– An interview of the promoters of the proposed university with the NUC to ascertain their seriousness.

– A completed set of 10(Ten) application forms which will follow the due consideration of the application in writing, in person. 

– A non-refundable fee in bank draft prescribed by the NUC along with copies of:-

a) A draft physical master plan

b). A draft university law(Bye-laws)

c). A draft academic brief

d). A counterpart deed of assignment

e). A certificate of incorporation and Memorandum and Articles of Association of the proprietors

f). A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of the proposed university site. Note that the university site should be at least 100(One Hundred) hectares in a salutary site

g). A letter of available liquid cash for the necessary capital and recurrent expenditure

h). A bank guarantee of funds to the tune of 200,000,000.00(Two Hundred Million) Naira from a reputable bank

What are the procedural steps involved in the licensing of a private university?

After the submission of documents and the required first interview, the following steps will follow :-

First Verification Visit

– An interactive meeting of the NUC with the proposed university through its planning and implementation committee as a prelude to the first verification visit to its campus site.

– An intensive review/analysis of documents by experts in various relevant departments of the NUC.

– A first verification visit to the proposed university to review their documents with them on one-on-one basis and to assess the level of preparedness in terms of documentation along with an inspection of physical facilities is also undertaken to ascertain their adequacy of the proposed colleges for the first phase and then courtesy calls to government establishments that provide infrastructural facilities such as electricity, water and telecommunication including the traditional rulers and local government headquarters of where the proposed university is located. 

These visits are undertaken to solicit support of the host community for the proposed university and also let them know that a university is being proposed in that area.

– The revision of documentation by proprietors based on report by DEPU whereby the university after the first visit is expected to revise its documents and undertake the modifications of its facilities to reflect the prescriptions given during the visit. The revised documents are forwarded to the NUC for assessment of compliance and if found that progress has been made in direction, the second verification visit to the proposed university is then scheduled.

Second Verification Visit

– This is expected to be the final visit to the proposed university depending on the level of compliance with the given prescriptions

– This will be followed by a security screening of proprietors and member of the board of trustees of the proposed universities to enable the relevant government agencies ascertain the credibility of those sponsoring the university project to ensure that they are not persons of questionable character.

Approval by NUC

– The DEPU on return to the NUC from the final verification visit, writes a comprehensive report with score ratings for the latter’s consideration and further necessary action.

– The NUC upon receiving the DEPU report on the proposed university, considers and makes appropriate recommendations to the University Development Committee (UDC) of the NUC for its consideration after which the latter submits it to the board for ratification. The board thereafter forwards its recommendation to the Federal Government via the Minister of Education for its consideration and approval.

Approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC)

– The FEC considers the recommendations of the NUC and security report on the proposed university’s promoters. 

– If approved, a 3-year provisional license will be granted the university’s proprietors. Only satisfactory performance during the probationary period will earn the proprietor a substantive license.

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