In a significant move aimed at safeguarding the credibility of higher education in Nigeria, the Federal Government has issued a ban on 18 foreign universities operating within the country, labeling them as “degree mills.”
The directive, which warns Nigerians to steer clear of enrolling in these institutions, affects five universities from the United States, six from the United Kingdom, and three Ghanaian tertiary institutions.
The National Universities Commission (NUC) made the announcement via a statement on its website, revealing that the affected universities had not been licensed by the Federal Government and have subsequently been closed down.
The list includes institutions operating in Nigeria such as the University of Applied Sciences & Management in Port Novo, Republic of Benin; Volta University College in Ho, Volta Region, Ghana; and the International University in Missouri, USA, with Kano and Lagos Study Centres.
Other institutions facing closure are Tiu International University (UK), Pebbles University (UK), London External Studies (UK), Pilgrims University, West African Christian University, EC-Council University (USA), and Concept College/Universities (London), among others.
In a bid to address issues in the education sector, the Federal Ministry of Education has also temporarily suspended the evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from the Republic of Benin and Togo. This decision comes in the wake of an undercover investigative report by the Daily Nigerian newspaper, titled ‘How Daily Nigerian Reporter Bagged Cotonou Varsity Degree in 6 Weeks.’
The investigative report exposed a certificate racketeering syndicate at a Beninese University, where a reporter obtained a degree within six weeks and participated in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. The Federal Ministry of Education, in response to the report, expressed concern over the certificate racketeering and condemned Nigerians who resort to desperate measures to obtain degrees.
Augustina Obilor-Duru, on behalf of the Director of Press and Public Relations at the Federal Ministry of Education, stated that the suspension of certificate evaluation from Benin and Togo would persist until the outcome of an investigation involving the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education of Nigeria, the two countries, and relevant security agencies.
The ministry urged the public to support its efforts, provide useful information, and assured that internal administrative processes were underway to determine the culpability of staff involved. It emphasized that addressing issues related to institutions operating clandestinely or existing only on paper is a global challenge faced by many countries, and Nigeria is actively working to combat such problems within its borders.