Nasarawa - Rukkayyatu Rufai', the Minister of Education, on Thursday said that the Federal Government had approved N18 billion for the take-off of the nine new federal universities.
"The sum of N2 billion each was approved by Mr President to assist them in developing their campuses as well as the provision of administrative blocks, libraries and ICT centres, " she said.
The minister gave the information at the matriculation ceremony of 247 pioneer students of the Federal University, Lafia, for the 2011/2012 academic session.
She said that the Federal Government had earlier approved N1.5 billion for each of the universities as take-off grant to enable them to establish physical infrastructure.
Rufai' said that President Goodluck Jonathan had delivered on his campaign promise by implementing his transformation agenda in the education sector.
The minister said the Federal Government was committed to providing more opportunities of tertiary education for Nigerian citizens, hence the establishment of nine federal universities.
Rufai' urged the matriculating students to shun cult activities, drug abuse, prostitution and stealing.
She thanked the Nasarawa State Government for creating an enabling environment for the commencement of academic activities in the university.
Earlier, the institution's Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ekanem Braide, expressed gratitude to the state government for providing the take- off site, land for the permanent site and one guest house for the institution.
The vice-chancellor said the government assisted the university with the Vice-chancellor's Lodge, Registrar’s Lodge, a transformer and technical services.
He said the government had also promised to build and donate one female hostel to the university at its permanent site.
Braide said the 247 matriculating students would study in 11 programmes, including Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Computer Science.
He said the university would train graduates and equip them with skills for national development.
Braide said that the 2011-2021 strategic plan for the university was to make it a renowned institution of learning, research and innovation for positive socio-economic transformation of Nigeria.
He thanked the Federal Government for establishing the university and Nasarawa State Government for providing facilities for its take off.
Braide enjoined the new students to shun all form of social vices and face their academic work seriously.
In his remark, Gov. Tanko Al-makura said the state government had provided a take- off site, permanent site, accommodation, generating set for the university and promised to build and donate one female hostel to the institution.
Al-makura thanked the Federal Government for establishing the university and called for co-operation between the institution and the state university.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Federal Government established new universities in each of the six geo-political zones of the country.