• Friday, July 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

FG to expose, flush out fake certificate holders

Minister bows to pressure, changes minimum admission age to 16 years following backlash

The Federal Government has vowed to flush out fake certificate holders in both public and private institutions in the country.

Tahir Mamman, the minister of education, issued the warning on Friday in Abuja while receiving the report of an Inter-Ministerial Investigative Committee on Degree Certificate Milling.

BusinessDay recalls that the Federal Government had on January 9, set up the committee to probe the activities of degree racketeering in both foreign and local private universities.

Chaired by Jubrila Amin, the panel was mandated to review the role of any ministry, departments, agencies, or their officials in the facilitation of the recognition and procurement of fake certificates in question.

This was on the back of an investigative report by a reporter, Umar Audu, with the Daily Nigerian Newspaper on the activities of degree mills in Benin Republic and Togo.

The reporter revealed how he obtained a degree within six weeks and even proceeded on the mandatory youth service under the National Youth Service Corps scheme (NYSC).

Mamman, who expressed sadness over what was uncovered during the investigations, said that the ministry would work with relevant agencies to sanitise the education sector and rid it of any fake tendencies

Specifically, he said any government official found wanting would face the full wrath of the law.

“We can’t afford to have the integrity of our education soar by some few persons.”

“It is possible that some are carrying fake certificates in public and private organisations that need to be flushed out. This report is a product of a thorough investigation.”

“It is sad that someone who should come out from a Nigerian institution with a 2:1 or 2:2 is now parading an international certificate of first class. The ministry is determined to take steps to sanitise the system.”

He, therefore, pledged to take a decisive role to ensure standards were enshrined in the system.

Presenting the report, Jubrila Amin, chairman of the Inter-ministerial Committee, lamented the horrible standards of education in those schools, saying that many of the schools awarding degree certificates were an eyesaw.

Amin said the problems at hand required speedy intervention, recommending that all agencies in the sector must digitise/automate their system. He said that automating the entire education system was a way to go in such a way that you could sit in your office and monitor what is happening in all tertiary institutions.

According to him, “In the course of our investigation, we realise that the present programme of accreditation and evaluation of results is inadequate.”

He called for more universities in the country, saying that more universities to train PhD holders would help a lot rather than Nigerians going outside in search of certificates while ending up getting fake certificates.

He urged the National Universities Commission (NUC) to pay more attention to institutions offering part-time or sandwich programmes so we don’t have a repeat of the 2017 saga of centres offering unaccredited courses.

“People go and get fake degrees and we have been to those countries and we know what a proper degree looks like, we know what the fake one looks like.”

“We have given it to the ministry to scrutinise anyone presenting a certificate from those institutions and anything else is fake.”