February 25, 2024

The Federal Government has announced the suspension of evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from the neighbouring Benin Republic and Togo.

The suspension followed an investigative report by an online newspaper, which unravelled a Cotonou-based University, which issued a degree certificate to an undercover Journalist within six weeks.

In a statement on Tuesday, signed by Augustina Obilor-Duru on behalf of the Director Press and Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Education, the federal government lamented 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 government said the suspension will remain in place pending the outcome of an investigation involving the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education of Nigeria and the two countries as well as the Department of State Security Services (DSS), and the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC).

The Ministry, therefore, called 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 statement reads in parts; “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 30th December 2023 titled “UNDERCOVER: How DAILY NIGERIAN reporter bagged Cotonou varsity degree in 6 weeks, participated in NYSC scheme.

“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 Security Services (DSSS), and the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC).”

The Ministry also said it has 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 statement added.

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