• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

FG launches investigation into 107 private universities over fake degrees

The federal government has called for memos from the public as it begins an investigation into private universities established in the last 15 years.

Tahir Mamman, the minister of education disclosed this in Abuja while inaugurating the inter-ministerial committee on fake degrees and activities of degree mills in the country.

Jibrila Amin, the committee chairman explained that the committee would “Review the role of any MDA or its officials, including identifying such officials in the facilitation of the recognition and procurement of the fake certificate in question.”

The committee he said will also 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.

In addition, he said that the committee is expected to make appropriate recommendations for review of any rules, procedures, and processes to prevent re-occurrence and sanctions for identified erring officials.

Besides, he explained that his committee will make recommendations that will strengthen the system of recognition, accreditations, and quality assurance of degrees in Nigeria and examine the extant rules, procedures, and processes for granting provisional licenses to new universities by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

The federal government began the probe of private universities as a result of an investigative report by Umar Audu, a Daily Nigerian journalist, uncovering certificate racketeering in neighbouring Benin Republic and Togo.

At least 107 private universities were established in the last 15 years, BusinessDay’s finding indicates.

The committee on degree certificate milling would be investigating to find out if private universities established in the last 15 years have in place prescribed facilities, appropriate management structure, adequate funding of programmes, requisite state, and nature of the staff – full-time, contract, adjunct, visiting and among others.

The committee has therefore called on the general public to avail it information without prejudice to the periodic accreditation exercise of the National Universities Commission.

“Memoranda from the general public are, therefore, solicited to provide information to the committee to help it make appropriate recommendations to address the menace in line with its terms of reference,” the statement read in part.

Audu had narrated how he obtained a degree within six weeks from Benin Republic and even proceeded to embark on the mandatory youth service under the National Youth Service Corps scheme in the country via his investigative report published late last year.