Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said it would clamp down on institutions awarding illegal degrees in the country.
Spokesperson of the Commission, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, in a statement, yesterday, said the decision was taken during a visit by the management of the National Universities Commission (NUC) to the ICPC’s headquarters in Abuja.
She said the ICPC and NUC also agreed to tackle the problem of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions.
The statement quoted the Chairman of ICPC, Mr. Bolaji Owasanoye, as saying that the Commission would partner the NUC to tackle the menace of sexual harassment and fake certificates.
Owasanoye said that ICPC was already handling about 12 cases of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions, adding that, a conviction was recently secured against a professor in Obafemi Awolowo University.
He also urged the NUC to help domesticate anti-corruption studies developed by ICPC through its Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN) in tertiary institutions curriculum, which he said had already been embedded in secondary school curriculum.
Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rashid, 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 said that the NUC had found institutions where academic projects and thesis were on sale for N3,000 per copy. He added that another disturbing scenario was the influx of graduates with fake degrees from foreign institutions into the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
“You have assisted us to an extent 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 six months, while our degrees in Nigeria run for four years and above.
“There was 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,” he said.