A former Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Universities Commission, Prof. Munzali Jibril, yesterday said the late General Sani Abacha believed that the Nigerian private sector was not responsible enough to be entrusted with the delicate task of owning and running universities.
Prof. Jibril said Abacha gave a verbal directive in 1996 that action be suspended on the processing of applications for private universities.
Jibril spoke while delivering a lecture at the Igbinedion University, Okada to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the institution.
He said Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Bénin Kingdom, went on to work on General Abdulasakami Abubakar to plead that the applications for the establishment of private universities be brought out of the freezer.
Prof. Jibril stated that General Abubakar was favourably disposed to the processing of the applications.
Jibril said many privates universities in the country neglected staff development and welfare as they only provide staffing for accreditation.
The former NUC scribe called on private universities to reduce their fees, saying that the successful private universities of the future would not be for profit.
General Abubakar praised Chief Igbinedion for relentlessly pursuing the licences for private universities for nine years.