A viral report outlining that the National Universities Commission (NUC) had uncovered about 100 fake professors in universities across the country has elicited a flurry of reactions.
The viral list seen by The Nation included some names of fake professors in some universities in the country.
Checks by The Nation shows the report was published in December 2019 by Channels TV online platform and it resurfaced on social media platforms especially Whatsapp in January 2024.
This report was credited to the Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, in a bulletin published by the commission in November.
Professor Rasheed made the disclosure at the annual retreats for vice-chancellors of all universities in the country which held between October 28 and November 5, 2019 at the NUC headquarters in Abuja.
He explained that the fake professors’ details were posted on the commission’s website, forcing it to send the names to the various universities for verification.
Recently, a report published in The Daily Nigerian exposed a certificate racketeering syndicate in neighbouring countries like Benin Republic and Togo, that specialised in selling university degrees to willing buyers in Nigeria.
An undercover journalist, Umar Audu, had detailed how he acquired a degree from a university in Benin Republic under two months and in fact, was deployed for the National Youth Service Corps.
Audu, who reached out to the syndicate that specialised in selling degree certificates in December 2022, graduated in February 2023 and was issued a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication certificate from the Ecole Superieure de Gestion et de Technologies, Cotonou, Benin Republic.
The report generated an uproar, with the Federal Government immediately suspending accreditation of certificates from the two francophone West African nations.
Reacting to the viral list of fake professors, a former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka on his verified Facebook page on Saturday argued that if there were fake professors, there must be fake lecturers and indeed fake students in the system.
Olayinka urged NUC to take a step further and publish the details of fake individuals polluting the system.
He said: “The report is dated December 2019. If indeed such a huge number of fake Professors were discovered within the Nigerian University System four years should have been more than sufficient a time for the NUC to invite the relevant security agencies to investigate the matter and the report made public.
“If there are Fake Professors there must be Fake Lecturers and indeed Fake students in the system as well. He who alleges must prove. The NUC should go a step further and publish the details of those fake individuals who must be polluting the system.
“Anyhow, I speak for myself. The report is dated December 2019 by which time I was still the VC. I had a copy of the names and biodata of all our staff on my Laptop.
“There was just no way the list could have been infiltrated. Relatedly, we regularly conduct staff audit, with the latest carried out in 2023 at the instance of the Federal Government. No ghost workers were found here. So to talk of fake Professors in UI is a joke taken too far.”
Also, Dr. Noel Abiodun Saliu, Deputy Executive Secretary, Academic Directorate, NUC, explained that such information should be taking as mischievous and unfounded.
Redeemer’s University in Ede, Osun State, also refuted claims of employing any of the purported fake professors.
Adetunji Adeleye, the deputy director of the Corporate Affairs Directorate at the university, clarified that the institution completely disavowed and disclaimed the “malicious publication.”
Adeleye said that the individuals labelled fake professors at Redeemer’s University have never been affiliated with the institution in any capacity.
Also, the management of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi refuted reports that seven of its staff were on the list of 100 fake professors stressing that none of the seven names mentioned in the report was a staff of the university.
It said: “While the authenticity of this story itself, remains in great doubt, the management of ATBU wishes to categorically state that none of the mentioned professors is a staff of the university, nor have interacted with the university at any given time in whatever capacity.
“In view of the above, all our esteemed stakeholders are hereby advised to disregard this blatant untruth as it is a mere fiction and an imaginary act; a possible attempt to smear the hard earned reputation of our university.”
Similarly, the management of Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti disapproved the list of fake professors credited to the university.
Reacting to the development in a press release issued on Saturday signed by the Head, Directorate of Information and Corporate Affairs, Bode Olofinmuagun and titled, “List of Fake Professors Not known to EKSU” the institution debunked the existence of fake professors.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Management of Ekiti State University, Ado – Ekiti has been drawn to a list of 15 fake Professors which purportedly emanated from the National Universities Commission (NUC) and associated with Ekiti State University, Ado – Ekiti.
“The EKSU Management wishes to make it abundantly clear that the list being circulated and credited to Ekiti State University did not emanate from the university.
“Moreover, none of the names that appeared there is known to the university as none of them has ever worked in the university.
“In spite of the NUC’s clarification on the matter, it is equally important for Ekiti State University to outrightly condemn, denounce and dissociate itself from the evil publication which could have negative impact on the image of our esteemed institution.”