The Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, has made a controversial statement, branding Nigerian students currently enrolled in higher institutions that have been de-listed by the Nigerian government as criminals.
Mamman expressed his stance during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Wednesday, where he asserted that he had no sympathy for students affected by the de-listing, emphasizing that no Nigerian students should be associated with such institutions.
According to Mamman, “The students that patronize them (the de-listed institutions) are not victims but criminals because no students from Nigeria have any business going to such places where they go there, pay money, disappear and reappear afterwards with what they call qualifications, which are not qualifications at all. I have no sympathy for them; instead, they are part of the criminal chain that should be arrested.”
This statement follows the recent decision by the federal government to suspend the evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from Benin Republic and Togo. The suspension, effective immediately, was announced in a statement signed by the spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Education, Augustina Obilor-Duru.
The government expressed concerns about Nigerians using illicit means to obtain degrees with the objective of securing job opportunities for which they are not qualified. The suspension will remain in place pending the outcome of an investigation involving the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education of Nigeria, the two countries affected, as well as the Department of State Security Services (DSS), and the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC).
This action by the government is a response to an investigative report by the Daily Nigerian Newspaper titled “UNDERCOVER: How DAILY NIGERIAN reporter bagged Cotonou varsity degree in 6 weeks.” The report exposed the fraudulent practices in some foreign universities, leading to the suspension of the evaluation and accreditation process for certificates from the affected institutions.