In response to recent revelations about the rampant issuance of fake degrees in some West African countries, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Education, has initiated a comprehensive investigation into the activities of private universities established within the last 15 years.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, announced on Tuesday the formation of an inter-ministerial committee tasked with scrutinizing the operations of these institutions.
While listing the functions of the Committee, the minister said, “Review the role of any MDA or its officials (including identifying such officials) in facilitation of the recognition and procurement of the fake certificate in question;
“Review existing policies and procedures related to accreditation and certification to identify weaknesses contributing to the issue; 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”
Newsmen gathered the committee’s mandate includes assessing whether the targeted private universities have the necessary facilities, a robust management structure, and adequate funding for their programs, among other criteria.;
Prof. Mamman highlighted that the committee would also focus on examining allegations of degree certificate racketeering within both foreign and local private universities in Nigeria.
This move follows an investigative report by Umar Audu, a journalist with the Daily Nigerian newspaper, shedding light on the illicit activities of degree mills in Benin Republic and Togo.
“Without prejudice to the periodic accreditation exercise of the NUC, examine whether or not Private Universities established in the last 15 years have in the place prescribed facilities, appropriate management structure, adequate funding of programmes, requisite staff (nature of staff-full time, contract, adjunct, visiting, other types).”