Catholics have been called upon
to become part owners of the
Veritas University of Nigeria,
Abuja (VUNA) by contributing at
least N500 each.
Speaking at the N2 billion Fund
Raising Dinner for the university
at the Sheraton Towers Hotel,
Abuja, its Chancellor, Archbishop
John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, said
if each Catholic contributed just
N500 each, the church would
raise about N15 billion for the
university.
Outlining the challenges and
opportunities of the university
project, Onaiyekan noted that all
Catholics are stakeholders,
contrary to the belief of some
that it is the project of the
bishops.
He said: “We have had great
challenges in ensuring full
ownership of our project by all
the presumed stakeholders
namely the Nigerian Catholics as
a whole. We have witnessed
divided interests and dissipated
energies as dioceses and
religious institutes of the same
Nigerian Church have embarked
also on similar, certainly laudable
competing projects.”
Noting that the Nigerian Church
is big enough to have more than
one Catholic University,
Archbishop Onaiyekan stressed:
“We need to seriously make up
our minds on this. One thing is
certain; the project of the
Catholic University of Nigeria has
reached a point of crisis which
must be resolved in a positive
way. That is what has brought
us together here.”
With 400 students, the
Archbishop said fees they pay
can only cover a fraction of the
total cost of maintenance. As
such, he noted that the internally
generated income can be used
just for the running expenses,
while the university needs
regular infusion of funds to the
tune of N15 million every month.
Despite difficulties encountered
since its inception in 2002, the
Archbishop said the programmes
of the university are fully
accredited.
He praised the members of the
Catholic Bishops Conference for
keeping the university dream
alive by providing the money
for the running of the institution
and the staff for their sacrifices
and perseverance.
Admitting that increasing
enrolment to a minimum of
2,000 students would help the
university break even, he said to
admit such number, adequate
structures including hostel
accommodation, academic and
administrative buildings,
furnishing and equipment must
be in place, which would require
the university to move to its
permanent site in Bwari.
What do you have to say about
church members contributing to
build a school considering the
hike in fees often associated
with major church-owned
universities in country?

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