Twenty newly established private universities by the Federal Executive Council on Thursday received their provisional licences from the National Universities Commission (NUC).
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu handed over the licences to the universities in Abuja.
The Minister, who was represented by his Minister of State, Emeka Nwajiuba, charged the operators to abide by laid down standards for establishing them.
Adamu said the approval of the establishment of the universities and subsequent issuance of provisional licences was a testimony to the continued partnership of the Federal Government with the private sector.
He said there was an urgent need to close the educational gap further compounded by what he described as the “gross inadequacy” of access to university admission.
He said with the additional 20 universities, Nigeria boasts of 99 private universities.
The Minister said there was a need for establishment of more universities to cater for the challenge of admission into universities by the huge population of prospective students.
He, therefore, advised proprietors of the universities who just obtained their licenses to sustain funding toward improved infrastructure and equipment for teaching.
Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said the approval was a landmark achievement for Nigerian universities.
Rasheed said the commission appreciated the roles of private universities in the provision of quality university education.
He commended the Minister for deploying his goodwill to convince the FEC to approve the universities and issue operating licences to them without wasting time.
A proprietor and founder of Zenith Bank, Dr Jim Ovia, of James Hope University, Lekki, Lagos, assured owners of the universities would commit to abiding by the rules and regulations of establishing them.
Ovia said that the establishment of the new universities had enabled the creation of an education platform to mentor the youths.