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FG set to curb fake certificate racketeering- Minister

THE Federal Government says machinery is now in place to checkmate the flooding of the country with fake degrees and certificates.
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THE Federal Government says machinery is now in place to checkmate the flooding of the country with fake degrees and certificates.

Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, who made this known in Abuja, also disclosed that the government has automated the authentication and accreditation of certificates, saying students can now log on to the designated website for its services.

In January this year, the Federal Government suspended the evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from Benin Republic and Togo.

This followed a report that exposed a booming certificate racketeering syndicate in neighbouring African countries that specialises in selling university degrees to willing buyers in Nigeria.

In the investigation, an undercover reporter bagged a university degree from Cotonou in six weeks at “an affordable rate” and used the certificate to participate in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme without detection.

The Federal Government subsequently inaugurated an inter-ministerial committee to investigate fake degrees and the procurement of such degrees.

The panel was also asked to probe the veracity of the allegations of certificate racketeering within foreign and private universities in Nigeria.

The Minister, while giving an update on the probe panel, said: “Talking about accreditation of certificates, some two, three months ago, the issue of fake certificates flooding the country and a high-powered inter-ministerial committee was set up.

“That committee is rounding off its work. And from what I heard, we have major breakthroughs about fake certificates flooding this country.

“So as we promised earlier once we get the report, not only will it help the ministry strengthen its recognition and accreditation of certificates but those who patronise fake certificates will have themselves to blame.

“We are going to trace them to their employers with the help of security agencies, so that they can all be flushed out of the system,” he stated

President Bola Tinubu has also decried the rate at which fake degrees and certificates were circulating in the nation’s education system.

Tinubu spoke at the combined convocation of the Abubakar Tafawa Belewa University, Bauchi.

He frowned at the incursion of fake certificates into the country’s tertiary education system while assuring the nation that the government would do the needful to safeguard the integrity of the sector.

He said: “In order to safeguard the sanctity of our educational institutions, the Federal Government has noted the increasing incidences of fake decrees /certificates acquired by some unpatriotic Nigerians from unscrupulous institutions mostly from beyond the borders of this country.

“Hence, adequate machinery has been put in place to bring these unwholesome practices to an end while those who engage in it shall face the full wrath of the law.’’

The President, who was represented by the deputy director, University Education Department, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr James Ocheido, said concerted efforts had been put in place through the collaboration of all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) using state-of-the-art technologies to ensure that no one is able to forge any degree or certificate of the nation’s tertiary institutions adding that whoever is caught would not go unpunished.

‘’I would like to inform you that the present administration is steadily and consciously studying the education sector, particularly the tertiary education sub-sector, with a view to designing a practical blueprint for achieving greater success in service delivery,” he said.

“The university system in Nigeria has come a long way and has recorded a lot of landmark achievements, especially in the training of professionals and experts in all fields, and these experts are contributing immensely to the national development.’’

He urged authorities of universities to intensify their collaborative efforts with other universities across the globe in order to exchange meaningful ideas for the benefit of our dear country.

“Few countries in Africa can boast of the robust and vibrant research activities leading to those amazing discoveries credited to our researchers, your efforts will not go in vain as we are more than ever ready to give you all the support needed for you to do more,’’ he said.

The President disclosed the resolve of his administration “to continue to invest in education, especially in research, to ensure that our graduates remain competitive in an ever-changing world.”

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