The National Universities Commission (NUC) has called on the management of Nigerian universities to uphold the sanctity of the education system by ensuring corruption-free environment in the institutions.
Prof. Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary of the commission said this in Abuja on Tuesday at a one-day sensitisation seminar for members of staff of the Anti- Corruption Units of the universities.
The seminar which was organised by the NUC in collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), had as its theme: “The Effects of Corruption on the Nigerian University System’’.
Okojie said that corruption had assumed a worrisome level in Nigeria and that the university system being an integral part of the society could not be insulated from the menace.
“The system must therefore strive at all times to uphold those values that make for civility and positive development.
“It is in this light that the commission, ICPC and other relevant agencies of government are striving to institute functional anti-corruption units in all the universities in Nigeria.
“We must, therefore, be vigilant to nib in the bud all corrupt practices in teaching, research and community development programmes in order to maintain the required academic standards that will guarantee national development and global competitiveness.”
According to Okojie, the trace of corruption in the education sector dates back to the colonial era when heads of institutions opened sealed packages in their possession to copy out examination questions for teaching before sealing them back.
He said that years later, corruption had taken different dimension ranging from cheating in examinations, `sorting’ lecturers to earn undeserved marks and none processing of students’ results among others.
Okojie added that the NUC as a regulatory body of all degree-awarding institutions in Nigeria would continue to ensure a corrupt-free university system.
He said that the commission had put in place a mechanism to eradicate corruption in the system.
The chairman said that some of the measures include the closure of illegal programmes before commencement of verification of academic programmes and institutional accreditation exercises.
Others are on-the-spot inspection and monitoring of universities’ activities among others.
Also speaking, the ICPC Chairman, Mr Ekpo Nta, said that the commission would study the university system and processes that had led to the worrisome state in the institutions and proffer lasting solutions.
Ekpo who was represented by Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, Director, Education ICPC said that the seminar came at a time when the commission was designing strategic sectoral partnerships across the economy in the fight against corruption.
A participant at the seminar, Prof. Malla Galtima from the Modibbo Adamawa University, Yola, said that there was high-level corruption in the university system in terms of admission and other sharp practices.
Modibbo said that the seminar would create a system review of such practices as well as enable participants to educate both staff and students against corrupt practices. (NAN)