Nigeria’s National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday approved the upgrade of six federal universities to mega tertiary institutions with absorptive capacity of 150,000 students to 200,000 students each.

Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra state disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents in Abuja on the outcome of the Council’s meeting presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo.

Obi said the Council’s decision was sequel to the recommendations of a Technical Committee on the Needs Assessment of Nigerian Universities (CNANU).

He said NEC endorsed the committee’s recommendation that the six mega universities should be located in each geo-political zone.

Obi said the upgrade of the designated universities would be in medium term and it would assist in clearing the backlogs of students seeking admission.

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Obi said the Council also endorsed the recommendation of the committee that both the federal and state governments should prioritise funding by raising budgetary allocation to tertiary institutions.

He said NEC also endorsed the strengthening of the composition of the governing councils of universities by increasing the number of members, who have a direct stake in academics on the board.

The governors said NEC also approved the introduction of attractive incentives to promote post-graduate education and upgrade the academic qualifications of all lecturers to PhD level within a given period.

Obi said Council also approved government’s investment in hostel accommodation, establishment of specialised laboratories and a robust federal and state scholarship scheme.

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He said Council also endorsed the lifting of the moratorium on the creation of more than one university by state governments.

The acting governor of Taraba, Alhaji Garba Umar, said Council endorsed the purchase by state governors of 78,000 laptops used by INEC for the 2011 general elections.

Umar said Council took the decision following a brief by the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega.

He said NEC set up a committee to negotiate the mode of payment for the computers which would be distributed to students in the states.

The NEC is the highest economic decision making body presided over by the Vice President with all the state governors, Minister of FCT and some key ministers as members.

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