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FG clamps down on fake degree certificates, halts accreditation from institutions in Benin, Togo

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…NUC warns Nigerians against enrolling in 18 blacklisted foreign varsities in Nigeria

…NANS raises concerns for legitimate students, says there is need for reassessment

By Sodiq Adelakun

The federal government has suspended the evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates obtained from institutions in Benin Republic and Togo.

The decision was announced in a statement released yesterday by Augustina Obilor-Duru, acting on behalf of the Director Press and Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Education.

The statement expressed the government’s concern over the use of deceptive methods by some Nigerians to obtain degrees from these countries.

These methods are aimed at securing job opportunities for which they lack the necessary qualifications.The suspension of the evaluation and accreditation process is intended to prevent further abuse of the system and to ensure that only qualified individuals are employed in positions that require a degree.

The government has not indicated when the suspension will be lifted or what measures will be put in place to prevent future abuses.

Amidst these concerns, the suspension of the evaluation and accreditation process remains in place pending the conclusion of an investigation.

This investigation involves collaboration among the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education of Nigeria, the respective ministries of the countries in question, along with the Department of State Security Services and the National Youths Service Corps.

“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 spokesperson for the Ministry of Education Augustina Obilor-Duru said in a Tuesday statement.

“The Federal Ministry of Education vehemently decries such acts and with effect from 2nd January 2024 is suspending evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from Benin and Togo Republics pending the outcome of an investigation that would involve the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria and the two countries, the ministries responsible for Education in the two countries as well the Department of State Security Services, and the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC),” the statement reads.

This development comes in the wake of an investigative report published by the Daily Nigerian Newspaper titled “UNDERCOVER: How DAILY NIGERIAN reporter bagged Cotonou varsity degree in 6 weeks” by Umar Audu.

In the report, the reporter obtained a degree from a university in Cotonou, the largest city in Benin, within an astonishingly short period of six weeks.

His engagement with a syndicate specialising in the sale of these notorious degree certificates from neighbouring countries facilitated his rapid attainment of a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from Ecole Superieure de Gestion et de Technologies (ESGT) in Cotonou, Benin Republic.

Audu, operating as an undercover reporter for the Daily Nigerian Newspaper, disclosed that he connected with an agent involved in a racketeering operation offering these certificates for sale at what was described as an ‘affordable rate’ in December 2022.

Shockingly, by February 2023, Audu had graduated from the institution with the degree mentioned above.

Remarkably, Audu revealed that the syndicate provided him with an option to either “study” for a year or merely a month, and he opted for the latter, emphasising the expediency with which the degree was obtained.

…NUC warns Nigerians against enrolling in 18 blacklisted foreign varsities in Nigeria

The Nigeria University Commission has issued a warning to Nigerians to avoid enrolling in certain institutions.

The list includes the University of Applied Sciences and Management in Port Novo, Republic of Benin, Volta University College in Ho, Volta Region, Ghana, and the International University in Missouri, USA, Kano and Lagos Study Centres.

Other institutions on the list include Collumbus University, UK, Tiu International University, UK, Pebbles University, UK, London External Studies UK, Pilgrims University, West African Christian University, EC-Council University, USA, Ikeja Lagos Study Centre, Concept College/Universities (London) Ilorin, Houdegbe North American University campuses in Nigeria, Irish University Business School London, University of Education, Winneba Ghana, Cape Coast University, Ghana, African University Cooperative Development, Cotonou, Benin Republic, Pacific Western University, Denver, Colorado, Owerri Study Centre, and Evangel University of America and Chudick Management Academic, Lagos.

…NANS raises concerns for legitimate students, says there is need for reassessment

In the same vein, The National Association of Nigerian Students has appealed to the Federal Government to reconsider the suspension of accreditation of degree certificates from Benin Republic and Togo.

The students’ body maintained that the government needs to consider the impact of this decision on legitimate students who have pursued their education in the affected countries.

But NANS, in a statement by its Senate President, Akinteye Babatunde, lamented that the suspension has affected numerous students who are duly registered and have invested significant time and resources in their education.

Babatunde noted that the affected students now find themselves in a state of uncertainty, facing potential delays in their academic and professional pursuits.

He added, “Many have completed one, two, or three years of study, while others have successfully graduated and are eagerly awaiting the approval of their evaluation lists to participate in the National Youth Service Corps programme.

“While the government’s commitment to upholding the integrity of academic qualifications is commendable, it is essential to carefully review the impact of this decision on legitimate students who have pursued their education in these countries.”

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CBN disowns notice on cryptocurrency transactions

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says a notice circulating on social media about the risk of cryptocurrency is fake news.

The Apex disclosed this via its official X account, urging the public to disregard the purported notice for all Deposits Money Bank, Non-Bank Financial Institutions, and other Financial Institutions.

The notice reminded “Institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies and facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited”.

However, CBN said the content doesn’t originate from it.

“This information does not originate from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“For authentic updates, please visit the official website,” CBN wrote.

Recall that the CBN governor, during the Bank’s 293rd Monetary Policy Committee meeting, said over $26 billion funnelled through Binance.

On Tuesday, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, said the anti-graft agency froze about 300 accounts to ensure the safety of the foreign exchange market.

The Nigerian government had continued clamping down on Binance and other cryptocurrency platforms amid efforts to defend the Naira in the foreign exchange market.

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Biden says U.S. will begin sending weapons to Ukraine

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U.S. President Joe Biden wants to start delivering of weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week.
The president said this shortly after the U.S. Senate approved billions of dollars in new aid for the country under attack from Russia.
“I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week,” Biden said.
By passing the legislative package, which also includes billions of dollars in aid for Israel and Taiwan, the U.S. Congress has demonstrated the power of American leadership in the world, Biden added.
“We stand resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression.”
There is an urgent need for support for Ukraine, which is being subjected to relentless bombardment from Russia, Biden said.
The bill also contains aid for Israel, which has recently faced unprecedented attacks from Iran.
“This critical legislation will make our nation and world more secure as we support our friends who are defending themselves against terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin,” Biden said.
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NSCDC deploys personnel to JAMB CBT centres in Anambra

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said it has deployed personnel to ensure a hitch-free 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Anambra.

The state Commandant, Olatunde Maku, stated this after monitoring the conduct of the exams across CBT centres in Awka, on Wednesday.

Some of the centres visited are, Integral Development Konsult on Enugu/Onitsha Expressway, White House in Awka, JAMB Centre located inside JAMB office in Amawbia and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Others are St. John of God ICT Hub, Awka and Kachukwu Ventures Staff Development Centre, behind Government House in Awka.

The examination centres take candidates in three batches: 7 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Maku said that the synergy between NSCDC and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had yielded positive results in reducing exam malpractice.

He said that the monitoring of the centres would continue till the end of the examination period, to ensure a seamless conduct of the exercise and promote transparency.

“We are firm in our determination to protect critical national assets and infrastructure including JAMB centres.

“Which was why the NSCDC deployed personnel to JAMB CBT centres in the state to ensure security and so far they have been professional in carrying out their mandate,” he said.

Maku advised candidates writing the 2024 UTME to be law abiding and avoid being in possession of prohibited or incriminating items during the examination.

He warned unauthorised persons against loitering around designated exam centre, adding that anyone found wanting would be arrested and prosecuted.

Also speaking, Mrs Jema Iheme, JAMB Coordinator, Anambra state, commended NSCDC for their support and for ensuring security of candidates and staff at the exam centres.

Iheme said that the swift response of NSCDC to emergencies and enforcement of exam rules and regulations was contributing to a smooth and secured exam process so far.

NAN also reports that about 1.9 million candidates are expected to write the JAMB UTME, which commenced on April 19 and would end on April 29.

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