Publication of names of fake varsities routine, says NUC
The commission made the clarification against the backdrop of the wide publicity the list of 57 fake degree mills, and eight others undergoing prosecution/investigation, which it listed in its August 24th bulletin.
Some of the institutions listed in the said bulletin had earlier been named in 2012, as not being licensed by the Federal Government to operate and have, therefore, been operating in violation of the Education (National Minimum Standards etc) Act CAP E3 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
A good number of the “degree mills,” the commission said were found in the South Eastern part of the country as well as the South South states of Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom.
Some North Central states, including Kogi, Abuja, Benue, Kwara and Nasarawa also play host to some of the illegal schools.
Incidentally, the South West, which has the bulk of duly licenced private universities in the country, plays host to only a sprinkle of these illegal outfits, mostly campuses/study centres of vague foreign varsities operating in the country. They are located in Lagos, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti states.
In that bulletin, the NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Julius Okojie, warned that those who patronise the schools do so at their own risk as “certificates obtained from these sources will not be recognised for the purposes of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) deployment, employment and further studies.”
NUC’s Director of Information and Public Relations, Mr. Ibrahim Yakassai, while briefing newsmen in Abuja, said the list of 57 illegal universities published in recent media reports should not be misconstrued as fresh clampdown on illegal degree mills.
Yakassai said the commission was miffed that a section of the media deliberately distorted the information in the bulletin and presented the list of the 57 illegal universities as a new thing.
He said the list of blacklisted universities has been published every week in the commission’s Monday Bulletin for about five years, just to keep Nigerians informed, and to ensure that nobody wakes up one day to use any of those names to defraud unsuspecting admission seekers, stressing that the war on illegal universities springing up in the country had been won a long time ago.
“The list of illegal universities that was published as new is not new. The list has been in existence for over four, five years now. We did not just start to pursue illegal universities now. We have been doing that job in the last nine years.
“You are all living witnesses to the fact that we invited the media severally in the past to go with us to close down some of the illegal universities. I want to emphasise that there is no illegal universities operating in this country as of now that we know, Yakassai stated.
He continued, “The list that was bandied that NUC is just waking up to identify 57 illegal universities has been there. What we do is that any time we close down any illegal degree mill, we keep publishing the name in the bulletin until such a name is thoroughly stigmatized.