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FG launches probe into private universities over certificate racketeering allegations

Inter-Ministerial Committee Seeks Public Input to Investigate Degree Mills and Ensure Educational Integrity

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In response to allegations of certificate racketeering and concerns over the proliferation of private universities, the Federal Government has initiated a comprehensive probe into institutions established in the last 15 years, inviting public input to aid the investigation.

The investigative drive follows revelations unearthed by Daily Nigerian journalist Umar Audu exposing fraudulent practices in neighbouring Benin Republic and Togo, prompting scrutiny into the integrity of private universities within Nigeria.

A thorough examination of over 107 private universities established in the past decade and a half will be conducted by the newly formed Inter-Ministerial Investigative Committee on Degree Certificate Milling. The committee’s mandate encompasses scrutinizing the adequacy of facilities, management structures, funding, and staffing of these institutions.

In an advertisement published in newspapers, the committee solicited memoranda from the public, emphasizing the importance of citizen participation in providing crucial information to inform its recommendations and address the menace of degree mills.

The investigation was catalyzed by Audu’s investigative report, which detailed his expedited acquisition of a degree within six weeks from Benin Republic, raising alarms about the vulnerability of academic integrity and the efficacy of accreditation processes.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, underscored the government’s commitment to upholding educational standards during the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Fake Degrees and Degree Mills, highlighting the urgency of addressing fraudulent practices within the education sector.

The Committee, chaired by Jibrila Amin, is tasked with unraveling the complicity of relevant government agencies in facilitating the recognition and procurement of fake certificates. Additionally, it will assess the efficacy of accreditation procedures for foreign universities and programs, aiming to bolster quality assurance and prevent future occurrences of fraudulent activities.

As the investigation unfolds, the Federal Government remains steadfast in its pursuit of educational integrity, determined to safeguard the credibility of academic qualifications and uphold the standards of higher education in Nigeria.

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