Fake Degree: FG sets up 12-member investigative panel - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Fake Degree: FG sets up 12-member investigative panel

The federal government has set up a 12-member investigative panel to probe phony universities selling fake educational credentials to Nigerians.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, who inaugurated the panel in Abuja, named former Vice Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri and Chairman, Board of Trustees of Committee of Vice Chancellors, Prof. Jibrila Amin, as Chairman.

The committee which has the acting Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Dr. Chris Maiyaki as member, also has diplomats and security experts as members.

It was given two months to complete its assignment and submit report for appropriate action.

The investigative panel is to examine the veracity of the allegations of degree certificate racketeering within both foreign and local private universities in Nigeria; Review the role of the ministry,its departments and agencies as well as officials (including identifying such officials) in facilitation of the recognition and procurement of the fake certificate in question and review existing policies and procedures related to accreditation and certification to identify weaknesses contributing to the issue.

Also, the committee is to examine the rules, procedures and processes for recognition and accreditation of foreign universities and programmes by the Federal Ministry of Education; Establish if unapproved foreign institutions (Degree Mills) exist or not in Nigeria in whatever form with their identities and locations if any; Make appropriate recommendations for review of any rules, procedures, processes to prevent re-occurrence and sanctions for identified erring officials; and  make other recommendation that will strengthen the system of recognitions, accreditations and quality assurance of degrees in Nigeria.

The panel's other terms of reference are to examine the extant rules procedures and processes for granting of provisional licences to new universities by the National Universities Commission (NUC); Examine the procedures and processes for periodic accreditation of programmes in the universities by the NUC and examine their effectiveness in quality assurance of the programmes and without prejudice to the periodic accreditation exercise of the NUC, examine whether or not Private Universities established in the last 15 years have in place prescribed facilities, appropriate management structure, adequate funding of programmes, requisite staff (nature of staff-full time, contract, adjunct, visiting, other types).

Members of the committee are:Prof. Jibrila Amin, Chairman;Dr Chris Maiyaki,acting Executive Secretary,National Universities Commission, NUC; Amb. Lazarus Kpasaba, from Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs;Abel Olarenwaju, from Office of the National Security Adviser,NSA; Omeh Nwokpoku, from Office of the National Security Adviser, NSA;Mrs Amina Mohammed Lugga, from Federal Ministry of Youths Development; Mrs Doom Iyortyom, from the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB and some directors of the Federal Ministry of Education.

Recall that the minister had last Friday, suspended evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from Benin Republic and Togo following media report exposing sale of degree certificates by illegal universities from the two African countries.

Governmen's action is in response to a report by Daily Nigerian Newspaper in its publication,dated 30th December 2023,which exposed how its undercover reporter who had already graduated from a Nigerian university and served the nation's one year mandatory National Youth Service Corps,NYSC,bagged Cotonou university degree in just six weeks and participated in NYSC scheme.

Government explained that the suspension would be in effect pending the outcome of an investigation that would involve the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria and the two countries, the ministries responsible for education in the two countries as well the Department of State Security Services,DSSS, and the National Youths Service Corps,NYSC.

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