The Independent Corrupt Practices & Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is inundated daily with petitions from students, staff, unions, and other stakeholders alleging all manner of corrupt practices and abuses in most of our tertiary institutions. These petitions highlight flagrant abuse of processes in student admissions, examinations, appointment and promotion of staff, manipulation and falsification of academic records like transcripts, sexual harassment and victimization of applicants, students and staff, syndicated plagiarism, delay or non-payment of gratuities and pension to pensioners, non-adherence to bidding processes in the award of contracts, bastardising accreditation processes through deception, running un-approved Study Centres, affiliates and programmes, establishing and operating un-approved and consequently illegal universities, etc.
We are all witnesses of the frustrating, disruptive and atimes, fatal consequences these have on innocent members of the university community, the nation and our international ranking due to institutional decay, corruption and blatant abuse of processes.
Our preliminary investigations point towards the absence, utter disregard or failure of regulatory systems within these academic Institutions. I wish to inform Nigerians, through you, that ICPC intends to invoke its statutory mandate derived from Section 6 (b)-(d) of its enabling law to undertake a comprehensive Systems Study and Review of the Nigerian University system with the principal aim of identifying and correcting corruption-prone processes. ICPC’s intervention is specific and does not conflict with the regulatory, supervisory and/auditing roles of the Visitor, Ministry of Education, Councils and indeed the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) Objectives of our intervention are as follows:
- To establish the veracity of the various intelligence reports, petitions, complaints and public comments and claims against corruption-prone processes in the University system.
- To examine the practices, systems and procedures of the Universities and ascertain which of such practices, systems and or procedures aid, or facilitate fraud and or corruption; impede quality of service delivery, are open to manipulation and circumventing of rules for personal gains thus creating a situation of deliberate or inadvertent victimization and abuse of students, staff and other stakeholders. In designing this exercise, a protocol and cooperation has already been established between the Commission, the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and other stakeholders.
A broad view of corruption in the university system was taken and three (3) Universities, namely University of Nigeria Nsukka, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, and Salem University, Lokoja are being sampled. They were selected for a pilot Study to reflect Federal/State/Private University as well as North/West/East characteristics.
Since some baseline information already exist from the various Visitation Reports and White Papers, the ICPC study and review exercise would take about two weeks in each university at which a strong team of university administrative experts, and professional investigators will be physically present on the campuses. The exercise will commence from today July 23, 2012 simultaneously in the three sampled universities. The institutions concerned have been accordingly informed.
At the end of the exercise, it is expected that, empirical data upon which far-reaching policy decisions relating to expected outcomes would be gathered in the studied Universities. The expected outcome will include improvement in the delivery of quality university education in Nigeria and improved climate for transparency and accountability in the university system. In addition, the Universities would be better structured with policy and procedures that discourage corruption, malpractices and fraud at all levels of operations, while also improving on the quality of their service delivery. The outcome will also be a template for similar exercises in tertiary education in Nigeria.
To these extent, ICPC will monitor strict compliance with the recommendations of the Review; and infractions will be promptly and stoutly sanctioned.
In conclusion, we wish to make it clear that the exercise is a collaborative effort between ICPC and NUC meant to make the university system better positioned to achieve the objectives it was set up for in the most effective and transparent manner.
Thanks and God bless you.