The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says that it will begin to prosecute universities running courses that are not accredited by¬†the National Universities Commission (NUC).
The ICPC Chairman, Ekpo Nta,¬†said this in Abuja on Saturday, while speaking with journalists at a public lecture organised by the Abuja chapter of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA).
He also said the commission had arrested some officials running fake Nigerian Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camps or recruiting fake NYSC members¬†for the one-year compulsory service.
“We have arrested some of the officials involved in this and now, we are¬†going back to even approved universities that are running unapproved programmes for these youths.
“If you give a young person admission¬†to do run a programme that is not approved by¬†NUC, knowing that he is not going to be accepted for NYSC; why then are you admitting him without telling him the consequences?
“When he finishes, he now decides to begin to play games to get fake NYSC camps and fake postings; when you start with a lie, you continue with a lie,‚Äô‚Äô he said.
The ICPC chairman advised students seeking admission into higher institutions of learning to be sure that the institutions and courses¬†they were applying for were approved by the NUC. “Make sure it is an NUC-accredited course and you are entitled to run a master‚Äôs programme or participate in the NYSC afterwards. Make sure you don‚Äôt go and start producing fake certificates,‚Äô‚Äô he added.
Nta, who was also the chairman of the lecture, also advised civil servants to start investing in profitable ventures, while they were still in service to enable them to have a secure future, rather than stealing public funds.
“Don‚Äôt wait until you retire because two things are involved; it is either you steal money and ICPC will be after you or you might be unlucky that somebody is stealing your pension.
“As I speak to you, we are arresting on daily basis some people who are stealing pensions by creating accounts for ghost pensioners in the banks.
“It is important that you begin to invest no matter how small it may be, but be mindful of the civil service regulations which stipulate that you are not to entitled to run businesses aside¬†from farming while you are in service,‚Äô‚Äô he said.
In efforts to tackle corruption in the country, Nta underscored the need for civil servants to give quality service delivery, while politicians should refrain from actions that could overheat the polity. “The community should also understand that when you ask a politician for money and he gives it; what he has given you is money meant for your public health system; we are all victims of corruption,‚Äô‚Äô he said.
Dr Umar Bindir, the Director-General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), said that in all continents across the world, including Africa, the SMEs provided between 60 to 75 per cent of the job opportunities.
Bindir, who was represented by Dr Dan‚Äôazumi Ibrahim, NOTAP‚Äôs Director (Technology Promotion and Commercialisation), delivered a lecture¬†entitled: “ Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) as Avenues for Wealth Creation in Nigeria.‚Äô‚Äô
He advised Nigerians to take advantage of the research results in the country to establish SMEs.
Bindir said that agencies under the Ministry of Science and Technology and other research institutes across the country had made remarkable breakthroughs in science and technology that would be useful in efforts to create SMEs. “These technologies can be upgraded to provide the needed employment as well as wealth creation for our people,‚Äô‚Äô he said.
In his remark, Ismailia Alasa, the Chairman UIAA, Abuja, said that the topic of the public lecture was carefully considered because it was critical to efforts to address the challenges of poverty, unemployment and social insecurity facing the country.
Alasa, however, decried the falling standard of education in the country, when compared to¬†the situation in the past. “There is problem in the sector in terms of the quality and manpower. It is even unfortunate that the Academic Staff Union of Universities¬†(ASUU)¬†is currently on a protracted strike,” he said.
He appealed to the Federal Government and ASUU to look into pragmatic ways of ending¬†the strike in the interest of the students and the nation.