In a groundbreaking exposé, Daily Nigeria reporter Umar Audu has revealed the operations of a racketeering syndicate that expedites the procurement of Cotonou university degrees within an astonishing six-week timeframe. The investigation further uncovers potential collusion with the university and the illicit acquisition of accreditation from the Nigerian Ministry of Education for eligibility in the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC).
The undercover operation commenced in December 2022 when the reporter approached a racketeering syndicate known for peddling counterfeit degree certificates from neighboring countries. The syndicate offered the option of either “studying” for a year or a more expedited one-month alternative. Opting for the latter, the reporter was assured that the results would be ready the following month upon payment.
Choosing mass communication from any “university” in Cotonou, the reporter believed this course would facilitate easy passage through screening due to his familiarity with the subject matter. The agent provided a detailed breakdown of the amount to be paid, covering tuition fees, an evaluation letter, a resident permit, immigration stamps at the border post, and transportation.
On December 27, 2022, the reporter made the payment and received a payment receipt. As promised by the agent, the certificate and transcript from Ecole Superieure de Gestion et de Technologies (ESGT) in Cotonou, Benin Republic, arrived at the reporter’s office on February 17, 2023.
Remarkably, the transcript indicated that the reporter commenced the supposed four-year degree program in 2018 and graduated on September 5, 2022. However, a minor error on the transcript necessitated its return to Cotonou for correction. One month later, on March 29, the corrected version was received.
Notably, the reporter was never issued an admission letter or informed about the school the agent was processing on his behalf. The agent’s assurance was simply, “don’t worry, everything will be sorted out.” The reporter, seemingly through a miraculous process, “completed” a four-year degree program in less than two months, bypassing traditional steps such as application, registration, studying, writing exams, or even crossing the Nigerian border.
This investigation raises serious concerns about the integrity of academic credentials and the potential involvement of institutions and authorities in facilitating such fraudulent practices. The revelation prompts a closer examination of accreditation processes and the need for robust measures to curb the proliferation of counterfeit degrees.