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NUC, varsities sign performance contract over ACE’s




THE 10 Nigerian universities that benefited from the N16m grant donated by the World Bank, for the funding of African Centres of Excellence (ACE) in the country have signed a performance contract.

Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, while speaking at the ceremony, which was between the NUC and the 10 ACE’s recently in Abuja, said the project was initiated to promote regional specialisation amongst universities in the participating countries within the West and Central African sub-region, adding that the project was aimed at addressing common regional development challenges and strengthening their capacities to deliver high quality training and applied research.

Okojie noted that following a competitive process, 19 ACE’s emerged from the West and Central African sub-regions, out of which Nigerian universities won 10 slots.

He said: “Between the time of your selection and now, you have tirelessly invested huge amount of resources -human, time and money towards the successful implementation of the project. We are here today to fulfill the last of the effectiveness conditions, which is the signing of the performance contract for the project to become fully effective.”

The executive secretary, who said that the ACE project has largely become effective in the country noted that it was time to get down to the real business of addressing our common regional development challenges as well as strengthening our capacities to deliver high quality training and applied research.

“The ACE project has the capacity to transform the economic landscape of the sub-region, only if we can look inwards and come up with innovations that can address our common goal,” he said stressing that all the 10 centres of excellence in Nigeria must relentlessly pursue the goals and objectives of the project.
The NUC boss however, urged the 10 ACEs in the country to work towards strengthening the capacities of the best African universities within science-related education to enable them deliver high quality training and applied research.

“I therefore call on the centres of excellence to judiciously utilise the project funds and strictly apply them for the purpose for which they are provided,” he added.

In his remarks, Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, said in his address that if any of the management of the 10 Nigerian universities failed to concentrate on the objectives of the project, there wont be any hesitation in reallocating the funds to those that are doing well.

Shekarau said: “There must be no undue interference and frequent changes in the teams as that would impact negatively on the implementation,” adding that all changes must first be cleared with the NUC and we will not hesitate to reallocate funds from non-performing ACEs to those that are doing well.”

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