How unaccredited university awards 5,000 degree certificates
Victor Sorokwu, Asaba
The National Universities Commission (NUC) may have shut down the World Missionary University Nigeria, which operated for long without educational accreditation but the lingering effects of its nefarious activities still permeate the fabrics of the unsuspecting society after issuing degree certificates to over 5,000 graduates in six years.
The university operated without the knowledge of authorities in Delta State and the NUC claimed that one of its students actually leaked information to them about its illegal activities after he requested to know the status of the institution, having obtained admission in the last academic session.
“You know that these things depend on information. That was how we got to know. Sometimes the security agencies give us information. As you are aware, this is collaboration between NUC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC). This illegal university has multiple campuses,” leader of the NUC Closure Team, Barrister Moses Awe said.
Barrister Awe, who was also the NUC’s Head of Legal Department, said in 2014 the commission closed over 25 illegal universities but some of them resurfaced and are having a running battle with the authorities while some of them have complied with the order.
The NUC/ICPC team which stormed the school unceremoniously met one Pastor Hannah Lucky, who said she was the coordinator of the university’s scholarship and empowerment center.
During interrogation, she explained that her set was legitimate and she has conducted her activities in line with the provisions of the article of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) that registered her centre for students’ scholarship and empowerment.
She stood her ground vehemently against the team, insisting that she has not breached any law and the operations of her institution was enabled by the CAC certificate issued to her before commencement in 2010. She admitted that the World Mission University has been awarding degrees since it commenced operations in 2010 in Benin City, Edo State and has graduated over 5,000 students from diverse professional disciplines.
The institution had ran courses such as medical sciences, civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, environmental/health sciences, social sciences, information technology and computer sciences, mass communication and journalism and other humanities.
She also disclosed to the authorities that another set of 84 graduates were due for convocation this August, but had hoped to formally notify the NUC of its activities in the course of the graduation ceremonies, when its foreign parent body based in the US will be visiting.
“What we do here is to enable people obtain international scholarship. I registered with CAC, I am not operating a university, I create training centre. I am not recruiting students but until we get to a campus level which we are about developing now, we teach our students with volunteer lecturers.
“Currently, we have 84 degree students studying healthcare courses including 42 in nursing and other medical health services courses, 12 in the information technology department, six in building and electrical and four in mass media department.
“We are preparing for graduation of our 400 Level students this August. We also have certificate programmes and diploma courses. In the diploma, we have courses which include computer application, entrepreneur and vocational studies, and mass media. We have 31 students here.
“We (World Missionary University Nigeria) started since 2010 in Benin City, Edo State, after we registered with CAC as a recruitment centre for scholarship and empowerment. Since then, over 5,000 students have graduated through the university. We awarded them foreign degree certificates. Our headquarters is in the US and fully accredited there,” she told the team.
But when asked why her school management has not approached NUC for accreditation and license to operate in Nigeria, she said they were in the process of meeting a critical provision of campus site, which is a prerequisite for NUC approval.
However, the team dismissed her claim, saying the commission hasn’t had any contact with her or any member of the World Missionary University, not to mention making any inquiries or having talks on accreditation and operational license.
“We applied to the Delta State Hospital Management Board, Asaba and they gave us a letter of approval for our nursing students to attach with the various teaching and general hospitals across the state. As I speak, we have our students doing practicals in some government hospitals,” she revealed.
She further disclosed that her centre conducts admission into the university via online registration at $400 per course of study, while the acceptance fees ranges from $400 to $1,500 depending on the course.
Barrister Awe said the team had been on the trail of the institution’s management for the past seven months.
The World Missionary University Africa occupied the top floor of a storey building located along old Sapele Road, Abraka and shares the building with a provisions and sundry shops on the ground floor.
“This is a place that is said to be a mission organization but running degree programmes under different cover of scholarships and empowerment and we have been monitoring this outfit for more than six to seven months and we have confirmed affirmatively that they have been running degree programmes even ridiculously in the medical sciences.
“As you can see in this environment, where is the medical hospital? Where is the structure for degree programme?
“The so-called affiliation to the international body is just a cover up. There is no basis for it. We don’t know them at the NUC, so that is why we are here today to put a stop to this deceit to our young people in Delta State and in Nigeria in general,” leader team said.
He said about six illegal universities were closed within Abuja and its neighbouring states in one year, adding that the students whose school was closed were advised to seek fresh admissions elsewhere.
The NUC, had licensed over 60 private universities and last year it released a list of 57 illegal degree awarding institutions operating in Nigeria.
World Mission University West Africa office, Abraka