By Paul Boro
The National Universities Commission has approved the take-off of Bayelsa Medical University (BMU) for the Bayelsa State Government.
BMU is the second public medical university and the fourth medical university in Nigeria.
The new university brings to three the number of universities in the state. BMU is the 48th state-owned university in Nigeria
The Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed announced the approval of the institution when the Bayelsa state governor visited the commission’s headquarters in Abuja
Rasheed stated that it was necessary to have a specialised university in the state which would be a pacesetter in medical line judging by the governor’s doggedness in advancing the course of education in the state.
He explained that Dickson’s achievements in the two other universities was sufficient encouragement for the establishment of another one to increase enrollment.
“With the powers confined on me and the management of NUC, we shall recognise Bayelsa Medical University as the 48th state university and the second public medical university in Nigeria.
“It has also become the fourth medical university in Nigeria.
“This is because we have two private universities, one in Port Harcourt and the other in Lagos; and now we have two public medical Universities, one in Ondo State and the new one in Bayelsa.
“We do not want the proliferation of universities. We are aware that some states only build more and neglect, but with what the governor has done with the two universities, we feel that anything he touches becomes gold.
“We hope that this University will be a pacesetter. It is number four in line, but we hope it will soon be number one,” he said.
Earlier, Dickson said investment in education was a cardinal point of his administration.
The governor said his administration had continued to fund education in the state in the last seven years through the establishment of model boarding schools, provision of learning materials, learning and teaching infrastructure and others.
He noted that the state which was ranked number 27 in education in 2012, had moved to the third, Fourth and second position in the last three years.
He said: “If we do not invest in education and build schools, we should be prepared to build more prisons and to enrich more cemeteries.
“In Bayelsa, furthering the course of education is one of the top priorities of the government as we have decided to match our words with actions.
“The crisis I met in Bayelsa was such that I had to compel children of school age to be in school through melt down penalties. We now have over 10,000 students taken from their parents and spread in all the boarding schools.
“We take responsibility for their feeding, uniforms, books and others; and we also paid for the WAEC fees of all students in our model boarding schools.”