Latest news reaching us has it that the World Bank has released the first tranche of payment, totaling N1.4bn, to 10 Nigerian universities listed among the African Centres of Excellence.
The fund is for the ACE project to shore up the ranking of the universities in agriculture, health, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie, who said this at the ACE project post-effectiveness workshop on Monday in Abuja, warned the benefiting institutions against compromising the objectives of the scheme.
Nigerian universities had won 10 out of the 19 slots for Africa.
The benefiting universities are the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta; Bayero University, Kano; Benue State University, and the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State.
Others are the University of Jos; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Benin; University of Port Harcourt, and the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
Okojie said, “The success of the ACE project holds the prospect of favourable global ranking for Nigerian universities and the nation cannot afford to toy with the opportunity.
“The feat of a Nigerian university, which assisted in checking the spread and scourge of the Ebola Virus Disease when it broke out in the country, would have ordinarily earned Nigeria a top place among world universities.”
The NUC secretary added that investigations had commenced to identify universities offering online degrees with a view to checking their illicit operations.
The ACE project, inaugurated in 2014 by the governments of Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Republic of Benin, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo and Senegal, is to promote regional development challenges in the participating countries.
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