AMILOADED MEDIA HUB NEWS UPDATE
The media space has been agog with news of a purported list of fake professors currently in some federal, state and private universities nationwide.
The development followed the recent investigative report by a reporter with the Daily Nigerian Newspaper which exposed the activities of degree mills in Benin Republic and Togo.
The reporter, Umar Audu, revealed how he obtained a degree within six weeks and proceeded to participate in the one-year mandatory youth service under the National Youth Service Corps scheme.
Audu, who reached out to the syndicate that specialises in selling degree certificates in December 2022, was issued a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication certificate from the Ecole Superieure de Gestion et de Technologies, Cotonou, Benin Republic in February 2023.
The buzz which followed the investigative report led to the suspension of accreditation and evaluation of degree certificates from the neighbouring West African countries.
However, it didn’t end there. An old news item from 2019 which quoted a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, as saying that the regulatory agency uncovered about 100 fake professors in some Nigerian universities, surfaced again in the media space.
Though Rasheed explained the rationale behind tagging the “Professors” as fake, no list was attached to indicate a breakdown of the institutions with fake professors.
Findings by our correspondent revealed that the trend started on social media on January 6, 2024 when a netizen posted about a story which he read saying, “The 100 Fake Professors story I just read I hope it is not true. If It is, then we are in for a rude shock.”
The individual would later go on to list about 23 Nigerian universities allegedly with fake professors namely;
- University of Ibadan -11
- Covenant University -4
- Obafemi Awolowo University – 8
- University of Lagos -5
- University of Nigeria, Nsukka -9
- Ahmadu Bello University -8
- Federal University of Technology, Akure – 9
- University of Ilorin -11
- University of Port Harcourt – 8
- Federal University of Technology, Minna -9
- University of Jos -8
- Bayero University Kano -20
- Ekiti State University -15
- Nnamdi Azikiwe University -10
- Usman Danfodio University -7
- Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University – 7
- Federal university of petroleum resources -12
- Rivers State University -11
- Michael Okpara University -11
- Babcock University -9
- American University -14
- Redeemers University -9
The post, as of January 9, 2024, has generated over 100,000 impressions. When the creator was questioned on the source of his information, he referred to a 2019 news story by a television station.
A check on the link provided revealed that though the NUC claimed it uncovered 100 fake professors, there was no list attached.
The post led to a buzz with several media organisations ( The PUNCH not included) quoting the list as allegedly emanating from the NUC.
Following the reports in the mainstream media, universities were forced to issue rebuttals.
For instance, the University of Lagos, in a statement, described the report as unsubstantiated and urged the public to disregard it.
The management of the University of Ilorin on Sunday also dismissed the claims that 11 fake professors were uncovered in the institution.
This was contained in a statement signed by the spokesperson of the university, Kunle Akogun, saying; “We don’t have fake professors and they do not exist in our university.”
Akogun added: “The National Universities Commission had categorically dismissed the information as fallacious fabrication of mischief makers. The commission has dissociated itself from the list that first surfaced in December 2019.
“We deem it expedient to categorically disassociate our institution from the story of the 11 fake professors listed against our university.”
According to him, none of the persons on the list is on the university’s nominal roll, nor had any of them ever had any dealing with the University of Ilorin at any time or in any guise.
Other universities such as the University of Ibadan, Babcock University, Bayero University, Kano, Redeemers University, Ahmadu Bello University, Federal University of Technology, Akure among others have also been forced to issue rebuttal.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the NUC noted that it was necessary to issue the disclaimer considering the grave damage that has been caused by the reports of fake professors in the Nigerian University System.
In the statement signed by its acting Executive Secretary, Chris Maiyaki, the commission said it found it unfair to stakeholders that some agents on social and mainstream media would choose a moment Nigerians were awaiting the result of an investigation into the activities of degree mills in neighboring countries to spread “unfounded and baseless” claims about academics in the Nigerian University System.
The statement read, “For the avoidance of doubt, the commission can confirm that it initiated in 2019 a laudable project, with the intent of compiling and publishing a list of full Professors in the Nigerian Universities System through the use of an online portal to collate the requisite data. During the exercise, the NUC found anomalies, such as Associate Professors being listed as full Professors.
“It is essential to also state clearly that the commission, as a responsible Federal Government agency, does not engage in half-baked exercises capable of tarnishing the image of Nigeria and the NUS. That was why the commission deemed it necessary to share the collated data with the Nigerian Universities for the purpose of authentication by the competent authorities as to who qualifies to be a full professor.
“Based on the verified data, the commission then in a landmark accomplishment, first published the list of full Professors who participated in the exercise in 2019. It was understood that this would be succeeded by a continuous process of updating the list of full Professors. It is important to state at this point that all the issues pertaining to the 2019 verification of full Professors in Nigerian Universities were concluded in 2019.
“Since then, the commission has entrenched a more reliable system of generating the list of full Professors in the NUS. The commission is also conscious of the fact that some of the academics not captured in the 2019 exercise may now have matured and progressed to become full Professors; this being the reason why it continuously updates the list of full Professors in the NUS.
“The National Universities Commission questions the rationale behind recycling this stale 2019 news of an activity it initiated, conducted and laid to rest in the same year. The purpose and objective of resurrecting in 2024 (more than four years later) this-no-longer-fresh news, is clearly intended to generate unnecessary controversy at an unsuitable time, whilst lacing it with a false list of fake Professors.
“The National Universities Commission owes it a solemn duty to protect and guard the integrity of the many hardworking and committed academics in the NUS, who have earned national and international respect and recognition. Therefore, the Commission has been saddled with the vital and strategic responsibility by its enabling laws, to uphold the sanctity of quality in all aspects of our University Education delivery.
“The commission wishes to use this medium to advise government officials at all levels, members of the NUS, the international community, and the public, to please disregard these items of fake and stale news which have long been laid to rest in 2019.
“All information concerning the role of the NUC in the regulation of the NUS can be found on our official website www.nuc.edu.ng. Further enquiries can also be made via the commission’s official email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.”