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Lawyer raises concern as ICPC probes Cotonou varsity over alleged certificate racketeering

Lawyer raises concern as ICPC probes Cotonou varsity over alleged certificate racketeering

Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has commenced investigations into Cotonou University’s alleged six-week degree scheme.

A statement by the agency’s spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, said the ICPC chairman, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, SAN, convened a critical meeting on Tuesday with the undercover reporter on the case at the ICPC’s headquarters in Abuja.

According to the statement, they discussed the outlet’s December 30th report on alleged corrupt practices in rapid degree issuance at a Cotonou university, with a view to deepening the investigation and initiating relevant actions.

The statement read: “The investigation into Ecole Superieure de Gestion et de Technologies, ESGT, in Cotonou reveals a concerning situation where degrees are allegedly awarded in as little as six weeks, bypassing standard academic procedures like application, registration, coursework, and examinations.

“In response to these critical allegations, the ICPC is embarking on a thorough investigation. This probe will rigorously examine the networks and individuals engaged in these malpractices, with the objective of restoring and preserving the integrity of our educational system.”

Not that simple

A Kano-based lawyer has however advised the ICPC to marshal its energy in another direction, saying embarking on a wild-goose chase will not help anyone

“We need to raise this question. Is it part of ICPC’s mandate to investigate foreign universities’ degrees. Assuming a private person obtained a fake degree from Cotonou, can he be arrested and prosecuted by the ICPC? These are germane questions that need to be answered before starting anything.”

The lawyer, who declined to be named, said “It is not as simple as you may think it. Do you expect the foreign university to cooperate? So, how do you prosecute?

“Of course, receiving forged certificate is an offence which may be covered by Section 13 of the ICPC Act but will those universities cooperate and agree to say that those certificates were not genuine. Mind you, ICPC can’t compel them because they are not within its jurisdictional compass.

“I think the best thing for them to do after their findings, is to collaborate with NUC and the FG not to recognise any certificate that emanated from those institutions.

“I also think they should begin to prosecute the those involved in constituency projects frauds that range into hundreds of billions. There is also the issue of sex for marks that is believed to be rampant in some Nigerian universities.”



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