The federal government is taking public memos as part of its probe into private universities established within the last fifteen years.

The Federal Government began the investigation in response to a Daily Nigeria journalist named Umar Audu’s investigative report, which exposed certificate racketeering in neighboring Benin Republic and Togo.

The Federal Government’s Inter-Ministerial Investigative Committee on Degree Certificate Milling would be looking into “whether or not private universities established in the last 15 years have in place prescribed facilities, appropriate management structure, adequate funding of programs, requisite state, and nature of the staff – full-time, contract, adjunct, visiting and other types.

“The committee declared in an editorial that the inquiry was conducted “without prejudice to the periodic accreditation exercise of the National Universities Commission.”

“Inviting memos from the general public to provide information to the committee to help it make appropriate recommendations to address the menace,” the committee stated, in accordance with its mandate.In an investigative report published toward the end of last year, journalist Audu from Daily Nigeria described how he started the National Youth Service Corps, the country’s mandatory youth service program, and completed his degree program from the Benin Republic in six weeks.

This was made public in Abuja during the Inter-Ministerial Committee on False Degrees and the Activities of Degree Mills in the Nation’s Formation. Prof. Tahir Mamman is the Minister of Education.

The interministerial committee will “review the role of any MDA or its officials (including identifying such officials) in the facilitation of the recognition and procurement of the fake certificate in question,” according to committee chairman Jibrila Amin.

The committee will look at the rules, processes, and procedures that foreign universities and programs must follow in order to be recognized and accredited by the Federal Ministry of Education. It will also find out whether or not Degree Mills—unapproved foreign institutions—exist in Nigeria and, if so, what kind of institution they are, as well as any pertinent locations or identities.

“Provide appropriate recommendations for the review of any regulations, guidelines, and procedures to prevent recurrence and sanctions for identified erring officials” is the assigned task.

In addition to reviewing the current policies, practices, and procedures for the National Universities Commission’s provisional licenses to new universities, “make additional recommendations that will improve Nigeria’s degree recognition, accreditation, and quality assurance system.”

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