The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said that it would begin clamping down on illegal degree awarding institutions in addition to tackling the problem of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
The agency said this after members of its executive team met with the management of the National Universities Commission (NUC) at the ICPC’s headquarters in Abuja.
The Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rashid Adamu, who led the delegation to ICPC lamented that schools that award higher degrees within six months and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in less than one year had become common in Nigeria.
He also said that NUC had found institutions where academic projects and theses were being sold for N3000 per copy, adding that another disturbing scenario was the influx of graduates with fake degrees from foreign institutions into the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Professor Adamu also revealed that fake institutions from Benin Republic and Uganda were now recruiting students from Nigeria.
According to him, “ICPC had re-enforced the belief in Nigeria that corruption can be fought in a more civil and knowledge based manner. You have helped us by weeding out fake degree mills in time past, we need your assistance in tackling illegal universities in the name of foreign universities with centres in Nigeria.
“We have them from Benin Republic, sometimes they award degrees in 6 months, while our degrees in Nigeria run for four years and above. We also have a case of a university in Uganda which recruits only from Nigeria and South Sudan. There are also universities from Ghana that rent two-bedroom flats in Lagos and award PhD degrees in six months.”
Chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, said that the Commission would partner with NUC to tackle the menace stressing that it was fraudulent for people to parade fake degrees.
Owasanoye said that ICPC was already handling about 12 cases of sexual harassments in tertiary institutions adding that a conviction was recently secured against a professor in Obafemi Awolowo University.
He also urged NUC to help domesticate anti-corruption studies developed by ICPC through its Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN) in tertiary institutions curriculum, which had already been embedded in secondary school curriculum.