The Nigerian Government yesterday announced suspension of evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from Togo and the Republic of Benin.
The action followed media report that exposed fraudulent acquisition of degree certificates by some desperate degree seeking individuals.
Recall that Daily Nigerian Newspaper had in its publication,dated 30th December 2023, 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 varsity degree in just six weeks and participated in NYSC scheme.
Reacting to the development in a statement,the Federal Ministry of Education suspended evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from both Benin and Togo indefinitely.
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 Services,DSSS, and the National Youths Service Corps, NYSC.
The statement, released by Mrs. Augustina Obilor-Duru, of the ministry’s Directorate of Press and Public Relations, read: “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Education has been drawn to the commendable work of investigative journalism that led to the publication by the Daily Nigerian Newspaper dated December 30, 2023, titled “UNDERCOVER: How DAILY NIGERIAN reporter bagged Cotonou varsity degree in 6 weeks, participated in NYSC scheme”. This was also carried in various social media.
This report lends credence to suspicions that some Nigerians deploy nefarious means and unconscionable methods to get a Degree with the end objective of getting graduate job opportunities for which they are not qualified.
“The Federal Ministry of education vehemently decries such acts and with effect from 2nd January 2024 is suspending evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from Benin and Togo Republics 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 Services, DSS, and the National Youths Service Corps, NYSC.
“The Ministry therefore wish to call on the General Public to support its efforts, show understanding and provide useful information that will assist the Committee in finding lasting solutions in order to prevent further occurrence.
The Ministry has also commenced internal administrative processes to determine the culpability or otherwise of her staff for which applicable Public Service Rules would be applied.
The issue of degree mills institutions, i.e institutions that exist on paper or operate in clandestine manner outside the control of regulators is a global problem that all countries grapple with. FME has been contending with the problem including illegal institutions located abroad or at home preying on unsuspecting, innocent Nigerians and some desperate Nigerians who deliberately patronize such outlets. Periodically, warnings have been issued by the Ministry and NUC against the resort to such institutions and in some instances, reports made to security agencies to clamp down on the perpetrators. The ministry will continue to review its strategy to plug any loopholes, processes and procedures and deal decisively with any conniving officials.
“The ministry had always adopted the global standard for evaluation and accreditation of certificates of all forms which relies on receipt of the list of accredited courses and schools in all countries of the World.
“The inistry wishes to assure Nigerians and the general public that, it is already putting in place mechanisms to sanitise the education sector, including dissuading the quest for degree certificates (locally or from foreign countries) through a re-invigorated focus on inclusivity: reliance “on all skill sets as directed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“The Federal Ministry of Education is committed to collaborating with stakeholders, including civil society organizations, to consistently enhance the Nigerian education system and we value the public’s understanding and patience as we strive to address these issues.