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The federal government on Thursday urged the governing boards of universities to seek support from philanthropic organizations and individuals for additional funding of projects.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, gave the advice yesterday in Abuja while inaugurating the governing boards for the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta; Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike; Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University of Agriculture, Makurdi and the Federal University of Agriculture, Zuru.

Adamu, represented by the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah, cited the tough economic times and government’s desire to bring in more private sector participation in tertiary institutions, asking the councils to come up with ideas that would generate more revenue outside government allocations will generate.

“To this end, the councils must look outside and enlist the support of philanthropic organizations and individuals for additional funding of projects in the institutions. In addition, the councils can explore other sources of income through donations,” he said.

He asked the councils to play their roles with skill and efficiency, provide the type of leadership that will stimulate rapid growth of the universities and make them more competitive and attractive.

“By doing this, you must ensure that the universities’ master plans, academic assignments and strategic plans are respected and that their provisions are strictly adhered to,” he said.

Adamu also said the idea that the chief executive or any principal officer of institutions should come from places where they are located has watered down the integrity of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.

He described the practice as alien and said merit should be the guiding principle.

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He encouraged the councils to come up with ideas that would generate more revenue outside of government grants.

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