The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, on Wednesday asked the Nigerian government to allow private universities access public funds.
Mr. Onaiyekan, who is also the Chancellor of the Veritas University, Abuja, made the appeal in Bwari while addressing participants at the university’s second and third convocation ceremony.
He said that although the government licensed private universities, it should do more to support such level of education to form men and women of character and integrity.
“We raise our eyes up to our government to stretch out to us a much needed hand of fellowship and partnership.
“It will be recalled that after years of hesitation, our government finally gave up its monopoly of university education, opening the way for private institutions.
“Although they all go under the general name of private universities, it is to be expected that each one would have its own peculiar vision and character.
“They therefore supplement government efforts not only in providing extra admission spaces, but also in giving Nigerians a variety of choices in university education.
“We appeal to the government to give our university access to its facilities for subsidising tertiary university in Nigeria,” the Catholic cardinal said.
Mr. Onaiyekan said the university was established by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria in line with the church’s principles to pursue truth in all its forms.
Also speaking, Anthony Obinna, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the university, said it sought to promote high standards of teaching and learning to produce quality graduates.
Mr. Obinna said the formation in Catholic morals and social teachings was mainstreamed into academic disciplines and into professional trainings in the school.
He urged the graduands not to leave any stone unturned in pursuance of academics to attain greater heights in life.
“As you seek employment or begin to work or move on to further studies with your life, I believe that the seasoned formation you received in this school will continue to motivate you to greater achievements,” Obinna said.
The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Michael Kwanashie, said there was the need for close working relations among universities in the country to ensure growth.
Mr. Kwanashie said it was by so doing that there could be meaningful youth development.
He said “there can be no transformation in this country unless we promote transformative education.
“That is why our job here is to create leaders who will change the lives of people in the society positively.”
On behalf of the graduands, the overall best graduating student, Somtochukwu Agwulonu, said that although achieving the feat was difficult, she made it through the support by her parents.
The accountancy graduate said her mother, particularly, prodded her to excel in the school, urging her not to return home with second class lower degree.
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