The Federal Government has suspended the evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from Benin and Togo Republic.
This is contained in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday by Mrs Augustina Obilor-Duru, Assistant Director, Press, Ministry of Education.
This suspension came as a result an investigative work by a journalist that led to a publication in the Daily Nigerian Newspaper on Dec. 30.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a reporter with the newspaper, Mr Umar Audu had carried out an investigation titled “UNDERCOVER: How Sky blast tv reporter bagged Cotonou varsity degree in six weeks, participated in NYSC scheme”.
Obilor-Duru said, however, that the suspension was pending the outcome of an investigation that would involve the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the two countries.
She said that the investigation would also involve the ministries responsible for education in the two countries as well as the Department of State Security Services (DSSS), and the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC).
She called on the general public to support the efforts by showing understanding and providing useful information that would assist in finding lasting solutions to prevent further occurrences.
“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 ministry has also 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 a clandestine manner outside the control of regulators is a global problem that all countries grapple with.
“The ministry 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 patronise such outlets,’’ she said.
She also said that periodically, warnings had been issued by the ministry and the National Universities Commission (NUC) against such institutions adding that in some instances, reports were 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 Ministry had always adopted the global standard for evaluation and accreditation of certificates of all forms which relies on receipt of the list of accredited courses and schools in all countries of the world.
“The ministry wishes to assure Nigerians and the general public that, it is already putting in place mechanisms to sanitise the education sector.
“ This, including dissuading the quest for degree certificates (locally or from foreign countries) through a re-invigorated focus on inclusivity, reliance on all skill sets as directed by President Bola Tinubu,’’ she said.
She also said that the ministry was, however, committed to collaborating with stakeholders, including civil society organisations, to consistently enhance the Nigerian education system.