On January 2, 2024, the Federal Ministry of Education made a significant move by suspending the accreditation of degree certificates from both Benin Republic and Togo, a decision coming directly from the Federal Government. The Nigerian government expressed deep concern in a press release issued on Tuesday, as conveyed by Augustina Obilor-Duru, who signed the statement on behalf of the Director of Press and Public Relations at the Federal Ministry of Education. The government expressed its disappointment regarding certain individuals.
These individuals, according to the government, resort to devious tactics and morally unjustifiable methods with the sole purpose of acquiring a Degree in pursuit of job opportunities that they are academically ineligible for. As per the government’s pronouncement, the suspension remains in place until the conclusion of an inquiry concerning the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education in Nigeria, alongside the respective ministries from the two countries. Additionally, the Department of State Security Services and the National Youths Service Corps are also involved in this investigation.
Internal administrative procedures aimed at evaluating the responsibility.
According to a recent report, the declaration states that the Ministry of Education at the federal level strongly condemns these actions and, starting from January 2, 2024, will temporarily halt the assessment and authorization of university degrees from Benin and Togo Republics. This suspension will remain in effect until the results of an inquiry, involving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, the respective education ministries of both countries, as well as the Department of State Security Services and the National Youths Service Corps, are concluded.
In light of this, the ministry seeks to elicit the support of the entire populace, urging them to empathize with its endeavours and offer pertinent knowledge. These invaluable inputs will aid the Committee in devising enduring resolutions, thereby averting any future re-occurrences. The Ministry has also taken steps to initiate internal administrative procedures aimed at evaluating the responsibility, or lack thereof, of its personnel, to which relevant regulations of the Public Service will be enforced. Degree mills institutions are a global menace that poses a significant challenge for every country.
NUC have issued alerts regarding the utilization of such establishments.
Also, the problem is widespread, with institutions functioning covertly and unregulated, either existing solely on paper or operating outside the jurisdiction of authorities. The Federal Ministry of Education (FME) has been actively combatting this issue, striving to address not only illegal institutions within Nigeria but also those located abroad. These fraudulent entities target both innocent Nigerians who fall victim to their deceitful tactics and desperate individuals who knowingly seek their services. From time to time, the Ministry and NUC have issued alerts regarding the utilization of such establishments.
Additionally, in certain cases, they have also reported the offenders to security agencies in order to take strict action against them. The ministry remains committed to analyzing its approach in order to eliminate any weaknesses, rectify any flaws in the system, and take firm measures against any officials involved in conniving activities. According to a report, it was announced in 2020 by the NYSC that they would initiate legal action against Nigerian graduates who possess counterfeit credentials, particularly those obtained from West African nations.
A number of Nigerians were acquiring counterfeit degrees.
Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), in 2020, brought attention to this concerning matter. He highlighted that a number of Nigerians were engaging in the acquisition of counterfeit degrees from various degree mills both within and outside Nigeria. Citizens of Nigeria were alerted by a newspaper in September 2023 about a particular London Graduate School that was discovered to be engaging in the fraudulent sale of counterfeit honorary degrees.