EditorialTHEWILL EDITORIAL: Nigerian Education And Issue Of Fake Degrees

THEWILL EDITORIAL: Nigerian Education And Issue Of Fake Degrees

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January 07, (THEWILL) – The story of an undercover reporter of the Daily Nigerian, an online newspaper, who obtained a degree certificate in Mass Communication from a university in the Republic of Benin went viral on social media a few days ago.

Reactions from members of the public to the story indicate that this has been going on in tertiary institutions located in neighbouring West African countries for a long time.

Many people have said that they were aware that one could obtain a degree from universities in Benin and Togo between six weeks and a year, depending on the ability of the candidates to pay.

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What baffles many Nigerians is that most of these fake graduates were successfully registered for the National Youth Service without being detected.

After getting these fake certificates, it was gathered, participating in the NYSC Scheme allowed most of the beneficiaries to get appointments into the state and federal civil service.

More shocking is the confession of the reporter, Umar Audu, that he used the certificate in Mass Communication which he obtained from Ecole Superieure de Gestion et de Technologies, ESGT in Cotonou, Benin Republic within six months to participate in the National Youth Service Scheme.

He said that though he had previously completed national service, he successfully participated in the scheme for a second time with the fake degree.

In his report, Audu had detailed how the portal had flagged his initial attempt to register with his previous details and how the registration went through after he used a different email and phone number.

He said that NYSC seemingly lacked a digital tool to flag attempts to participate in the scheme twice or more.

In its defence, the NYSC through its Director, Press and Public Relations, Eddy Megwa, explained that an investigative reporter who registered twice for the scheme was able to do so by using alternate details.

Megwa said the undercover reporter succeeded because he was “out for a particular purpose”, adding that the NYSC was working to ensure it does not happen again.

He said it was not that the NYSC did not have checks and balances in place to detect possible breaches of the system, but that when the undercover reporter first put in his data, the system rejected him because he had served in the scheme before.

Megwa said Audu was able to beat the system because he changed his email address and his phone number. And he was initially posted to Osun State.

He maintained that he did that because he was out for a particular purpose and that the NYSC is looking at the situation and will ensure that it does not happen again.

We find the NYSC’s defence unacceptable. The National Youth Service Scheme was introduced to foster unity in the country and the scheme has been on for many years. Failure on the part of those saddled with the task of running the scheme to detect somebody serving two times has exposed the rot in the entire set-up.

The Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, which supervises the NYSC, must probe this reckless attitude. The promise that it will not happen again cannot be taken lightly.

There is a need for the ministry to overhaul the process of admitting graduates for the scheme. Although the Federal Ministry of Education has banned some of these universities identified to be involved in certificate racketeering, we feel that there is a need to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter and those found culpable should be punished through the instruments of the law.

We know there are syndicates that are involved in certificate racketeering in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. The preponderance of fake certificates will make most employers to become wary of hiring Nigerian university graduates within and outside the country.

We sincerely appreciate the Daily Nigerian Newspaper for the breakthrough in the investigative story.

The newspaper should be rewarded by the Federal Government for its efforts in helping the country to detect a ring of certificate racketeers.

Efforts should also be made to fish out those who have used those fake certificates to secure employment in the civil service and adequate punishment should be meted out to them.

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