Degree mill: why undercover journalist served twice – NYSC

THE National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has explained how an undercover reporter, Audu Umar, circumvented its system and qualified again for the national service after participating in it in 2019.

In an investigation, Umar detailed how he completed a four-year degree in less than two months and was mobilised for the NYSC programme despite having served earlier.

The report exposed how a Cotonou-based university issued a degree certificate to the reporter within six weeks.


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The report revealed how beneficiaries of such substandard certificates compete for jobs and other opportunities with hard-working graduates who undergo academic rigours for at least four years to obtain their degrees.

Having met with an agent, the reporter obtained the certificate and transcript of Ecole Superieure de Gestion et de Technologies, ESGT, Cotonou, Benin Republic, on February 17, 2023.

This was after the reporter paid the required amount, including tuition fees for the duration.

Reacting to the report, the NYSC spokesperson, Eddy Megwa, said on Thursday, January 4,  on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily magazine programme that the reporter used different phone numbers to breach the system.

“When the undercover reporter first put in his data, the system rejected him because he had served in the scheme before. He later changed his email address and phone number, making the system accept him,” Megwa stated.

He said the service monitored the situation to ensure it did not happen again. 

He confirmed that the NYSC did not have a database of graduates to serve in the scheme. 

“We only rely on the lists sent to us by the senates of the various universities stating the number of graduates to expect from them.

“It is not our duty to assess their certificates, but we have resorted to inviting foreign students and giving them tests to know their abilities,” he added.

He claimed that the NYSC had made shocking findings while inviting international graduates to take tests.

“Ask some of them to write a simple essay; you will be surprised at what you get. I have some of such materials that I can show you. NYSC is an elite scheme, not for illiterates, and the means of communication is the English Language.

“In 2006, the then DG (director-general) of NYSC, Brig.- Gen. Yusuf Momoh, went to an orientation camp and asked a supposed corps member the title of his final project. The answer he gave was incredible, and further investigation revealed that his name was smuggled into the list of graduates from a particular university,” Megwa stated.

The ICIR reported that following the report, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Musa Aliyu, ordered an investigation into the alleged university degree scandal. 

Aliyu said this while meeting with the journalist who reported the scandal at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday, January 2.






     

     

    A statement issued after the meeting by the commission’s spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, said the chairman and the reporter discussed the report to initiate relevant actions.

    The ICPC said it would collaborate with relevant domestic and international institutions to jointly evaluate the legitimacy of academic qualifications procured from overseas institutions, especially those highlighted in the report.

    The ICIR reported that the Federal Government also suspended the accreditation and evaluation of the Benin Republic and Togo degree certificates.

    A statement on Tuesday, January 2, by the Federal Ministry of Education spokesperson, Augustina Obilor-Duru, said the government expressed concern over Nigerians resorting to unethical tactics to obtain degrees to secure job opportunities they aren’t qualified for.

     

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