National Universities Commission, NUC, has said the $80 million (equivalent of N18.6 billion) World Bank grant to African Centres of Excellence, ACE, universities can now be accessed by the 10 benefitting universities in Nigeria.
Addressing newsmen in a ceremony to formally integrate the African University of Science and Technology, AUST, Abuja, the last of the 10 benefitting universities, to sign the performance contract, the executive secretary, NUC, Professor Julius Okojie said the take-off of the ACE projects was delayed because the AUST could not sign the performance contract “because of outstanding documentation that are pre-conditions for the take-off.
“These documents include the legal opinion of the performance contract, the partnership agreements, project accounts in line with the requirements of ACE and proper composition of the project implementation team.
“I am happy to report that the university has met all the requirements and, consequently, we signed the performance contract on Monday June 29, 2015. We equally followed up very quickly with World Bank and by July 2nd, we received notification of the approval of the World Bank declaring the university effective,” Okojie said.
By the formal acceptance of the 10th university among those that benefitted, the rest nine can now begin to access the $8 million allocated to each on percentages basis.
On April 30, 2015, nine out of the 10 benefitting universities signed performance contract with the NUC, but could not be eligible to access the fund following World Bank’s insistence on the whole 10 universities meeting the requirements before any could take the money.
Speaking on behalf of the AUST delegation, the vice president (Academics), Professor Charles Chidume expressed the institution’s appreciation of the NUC for patiently waiting for them to meet the stipulated conditions for participation in the project.
It would be recalled that of the 19 universities across Africa that were selected by the World Bank as the African Centres of Excellence, 10 were Nigerian universities. Seven countries in the West African region- Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Republic of Benin, Ghana, Cameroun, Togo and Senegal all competed for slots in the projects and Nigeria alone won 10 out the 19 approved centres.

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