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Nigeria Launches Inquiry into Diploma Fraud in Universities, Targets Local and Foreign Institutions

Nigeria Launches Inquiry into Diploma Fraud in Universities, Targets Local and Foreign Institutions

The Nigerian Government, led by the Federal Ministry of Education, has initiated an eight-member investigative committee to address concerns surrounding diploma certificate racketeering in both foreign and local private universities within the country.

Professor Jibrin Amin, the current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, chairs the panel. It is tasked with delivering an investigative report within two months.

In his inauguration of the panel, Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, emphasised the importance of a thorough investigation. “Please do not blink to anybody. You have our trust, the confidence of the government. There is no way Nigeria will promote laziness and criminality above productivity,”  he urged.

Mamman asserted that individuals possessing certificates from unapproved global universities would be treated as criminals, and regardless of the time elapsed, they would be pursued. Security personnel are part of the panel to facilitate these efforts.

The Minister highlighted that the issue of certificate racketeering extends beyond Nigeria, reaching other African countries and even nations outside the continent. He identified these institutions as “Degree Mills” known worldwide, emphasising the need to protect Nigeria’s education system and individuals who have legitimately earned qualifications.

Aside from scrutinising foreign institutions, the Minister urged the committee to also investigate the activities of private universities, ensuring they provide quality services after their certification to operate.

Dr. Tanko Sununu, the Minister of State for Education, emphasised the global standard of certificates entering the country, stating, “While protecting our local certificates, we must ensure that whatever certificate that is coming into the country must be of global standard.”

The Investigative Panel, chaired by Professor Jibrin Amin, expressed gratitude for the trust placed in them and committed to restoring confidence in Nigerian university graduate certificates. The panel includes members from various government bodies, such as the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Development, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), and the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The panel’s terms of reference encompass examining allegations of degree certificate racketeering, reviewing the role of relevant agencies, assessing existing policies and procedures, and making recommendations to strengthen the system of recognition, accreditations, and quality assurance of degrees in Nigeria. The committee will also scrutinise the establishment and functioning of private universities in the last 15 years to ensure compliance with prescribed standards.

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