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Open appeal to President Buhari: What shall we do about the academic fraud At NOUN?

Open Appeal to President Buhari: What Shall We Do About The Academic Fraud At NOUN?

By AbuJuliet

Dear Mr President,

I will not bore you with unnecessary stories as I intend driving straight to the matter that inspired this open appeal.

 

Your Excellency, it is needless to point out that you are a Visitor at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), an institution established to provide accessible and affordable education to numerous Nigerians as part of government’s effort to bring education to the doorsteps of every Nigerian.

 

Sir, it is now apparent, even from a distance, that these objectives have been abandoned under Professor Vincent Ado Tenebe, who now is the Vice-Chancellorof that great institution that has unfortunately been infested with the familiar virus militating against development in Nigeria: CORRUPTION. The institution has been transformed into a den of corruption and endless extortion against innocent students through the payment of a myriad of questionable fees. For instance, Your Excellency, the Management of the institution charges each student over N20, 000for textbooks alone without providing them to students. The authorities of the institution,despite knowing that the textbooks being paid for are not available,mandates students to make a compulsory payment for these textbooks and the students are consequently directed to buy the same textbooks from outside the school after making a compulsory payment to the University coffers, in what is clearly a collaboration between the Management of the institution and the outside sellers. The implication of this is that students pay twice for each textbook that they use. Corruption has never been this bold!

 

Your Excellency, during my investigation, my interaction with students at the Port Harcourt Study Centre of the University revealed that there are lots of other fraudulent means through which the Management extorts money from the students. It was gathered that a student pays the sum of N11, 000 for embarking on Industrial Training,one or two thousand naira as examination fee per subject, etc! It is now on record that the National Open University of Nigeria is the most expensive federal university in the country. This is because most of the fees charged by this University are illegal.

 

On the N11,000. 00 fee for Industrial Training, it was revealed that this money is paid into two separate accounts! Your Excellency, it is necessary to investigate the reason for which this should be so. It is also necessary to know if the federal government is aware of the following fees: examination fee (N1,000 or N2,000 per subject), Industrial Training fee (N11,000), Teaching Practice fee (N10,000), etc.

 

The University also runs a Law programme even when the Management knows that its Law graduates cannot be admitted into the country’s Law School in order to be certified lawyers, eligible to practice in Nigeria. The implication of this is that the University admits these students, make them pay exorbitant fees for years without actualizing their aspiration of becoming Barristers! The question therefore is simple, why does the University run the programme knowing that it is not approved by the Council of Legal Education? In fact, the Council of Legal Education has made public its stance on several occasions, particularly why Law graduates from the University are not eligible for admission into the Nigerian Law School. Why then, if not for pecuniary reasons, does the University continue to run the programme? If this is not fraud, I would require someone to give me an appropriate definition of what fraud really means.

 

More disturbing, Your Excellency, is that the University recently announced with some great pride the expulsion of two of its students, one Mr Abdulrazaq Oyebanji Hamzat and Mr Elias Ozikpu ‘on the basis of being found wanting in character.’ The charge of being found wanting in character appeared strange and ambiguous to me, pushing me to find out what truly their offenses were. I would learn later that these students were expelled for spearheading the formation of a Student Union Government to check the illegal fees draining the wallets of students at the University. This is the extent to which corruption has grown at the University, so much so that students have been suppressed and subjected to all forms of intimidation and victimization, and even withdrawing from them the right to freedom of speech and association as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The actions of the authorities remind me of an article published recently by Barrister Femi Falana under the title ‘Corruption Fights Back’. Our fundamental human rights in Nigeria have never been this threatened even in the days of the most brutal military administrations that we experienced. This is an entirely new level in the world of tyranny! Tyranny is fast springing back to life, and this is evident at the National Open University of Nigeria.

 

Your Excellency, the anti-corruption war that your administration is leading is commendable indeed. But it is important that this anti-graft war goes beyond the corridors of political office holders. I strongly recommend that you set up a strong panel to be headed by the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in collaboration with other anti-corruption agency to look into the corrupt practices that are so rampant at the National Open University of Nigeria. The proposed pannel should also investigate the dismissal of these students.

Yours faithfully

Abu Juliet writes from Portharcourt

 

 

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Posted by on Jan 10 2016. Filed under Education, Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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