The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Professor. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has expressed concern about the way degree mills (illegal universities that award degrees) mutate and put a dent on the nation’s reputation.
Professor Owasanoye, made this known recently when he played host to the newly constituted Committee on Degree Mills of the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Abuja, stating that the Committee’s assignment to eradicate degree mills in Nigeria was critical to the reputation of academic certificates being issued in Nigeria.
Owasanoye gave a flashback to the Universities System Study and Review (USSR) that ICPC conducted in collaboration with NUC in 2012, which had far-reaching consequences including the closure of many degree awarding mills and prosecution of some proprietors of the illegal institutions.
The ICPC boss charged the Committee to be strategic in their approach in carrying out their assignment, while suggesting the use of social media for information management, collaborations with NYSC, NOA and TETFUND for information and data sharing.
He further admonished the team to ensure that their work was well distributed geographically to avoid people accusing them of being lopsided in their findings.
The Commission’s Chairman conveyed ICPC’s willingness to resuscitate and rejuvenate the already existing collaboration. “We are available to collaborate with you in a strategic manner and we hope you will not drop the ball, so that whatever we start, we can take it to a logical conclusion,” he declared.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Professor Enefiok Essien, SAN, who led the team, said NUC constituted the Committee to look into the proliferation of degree mills, who award degrees undeservedly thereby derogating the value and quality of qualifications in Nigeria.
Professor Essien, speaking on the terms of reference for the Committee, said they were in the Commission to solicit ICPC’s help, especially the power of arrest, in their assignment.
He said considering the success of the USSR which the two Commissions had engaged in the past, they were optimistic that ICPC’s collaboration will go a long way in helping them ensure that degree mills become a thing of the past.