By Philomina Attah
Abuja, Aug. 17, 2020 The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it will soon begin to clamp down on institutions awarding illegal degrees in the country.
Spokesperson of the Commission, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, in a statement on Monday, said that the decision to clamp down on such institutions was reached when the management of the National Universities Commission (NUC) paid a courtesy visit to the commission headquarters in Abuja.
She said that part of their discussion was to also tackle the problem of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Chairman of ICPC, Mr 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 harassment 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 he said had already been embedded in secondary school curriculum.
Earlier, the 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 also said that NUC had found institutions where academic projects and thesis were on sale for N3000 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).
Rashid also revealed that fake institutions from Benin Republic and Uganda were now recruiting students from Nigeria.
According to him, ICPC had reinforced the belief in Nigeria that corruption can be fought in a more civil and knowledge based manner.
“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 6 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.