The Acting Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Mustafa Magu has disclosed that the Commission would from January 2018, commence full sponsorship of 20 doctoral research theses in the Nigerian University System (NUS), for the next 10 years, to support the fight against corruption in Nigeria. He also lobbied for the inclusion of Anti-Corruption courses in the NUS, adding that the Anti-corruption Agency would support the publication of researches relevant to anti-corruption issues if approved by the NUC.
Mr. Magu, made these disclosure when he led a five-man delegation from the EFCC on a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR. He informed the Executive Secretary that the EFCC is empowered by relevant laws and statutes to rid Nigeria of the scourge of financial and economic crimes, including corruption, stressing that the country cannot get it right until something was done drastically and decisively about corruption in all its ramifications.
In his words “our values, national ethos and national institutions have all suffered the effects of corruption leaving us with no option but to frontally confront corruption and the corrupt. This, certainly, is no easy task – the corrupt are not going to go down without putting up some resistance, using the illicit wealth they had amassed’’.
“But because we are on a fight to retrieve Nigeria from the corrupt, because winning the war is key to our happiness, prosperity, development and dignity as a nation, officers and men of the EFCC are resolved, focused, and remain unperturbed, he said”.
The Acting Executive Chairman explained that the EFCC delegation was in the NUC as part of its resolve to take the anti-corruption campaign to a higher level especially the tertiary institutions by seeking out credible partners through the regulatory body to pursue meaningful dialogue and collaboration to fight and minimise the incidences of financial and economic crimes. He added that, having the NUC leadership on the side of the anti-corruption battle would significantly boost the Commission’s modest but relentless attempt at fighting corruption and the corrupt in the over 150 federal, state and private universities under its regulatory watch.
The EFCC Boss noted that Nigerian Universities were hosts to millions of young men and women in their late teens and early twenties, pursuing programmes of study, stressing that the same set of people would move to the Civil and Public Services as well as private sector of the economy upon graduation. “Unfortunately, there are preciously little or no courses in our universities to prepare these young men and women against corruption, how it manifests itself, its ramifications, and what they could do to stop it,” he submitted.
The EFCC Czar mentioned that the NUC could assist the EFCC to sensitize the universities on the evil of corruption adding that ‘every evil thing that is happening in the country is caused by corruption’; It was for this reason that partnering with NUC became sacrosanct in line with the adage that says ‘prevention is better than cure’.
He lamented the erroneous believe held by others that fighting corruption was unnecessary. The chairman concluded that the synergy between NUC and EFCC when properly executed would save principal officers from indulging in fraudulent activities.
Mr. Magu stated that university students constituted a strategic target of anti-corruption training and awareness. According to him, “It is for this reason that I am canvassing for the introduction of anti-corruption courses for all university undergraduates in Nigeria. Whether one is studying accounting or building engineering, food sciences or marine biology, political science or pharmacy, exposure to a rigorous and evidence-based knowledge of corruption and its consequences on polity and economy as well as individual self-esteem would be most beneficial to the nation, the community and to the individual,” he added.
Welcoming, the EFCC team, Professor Rasheed explained that the NUC was interested in collaborating with the anti-corruption agency and promised that the Commission would also put in place all necessary mechanisms to realise this objective in the best interest of the Nigerian University System (NUS). He commended the Acting Chairman for his visionary leadership style and for his thoughtfulness which was in the process of adding value to university education and research outputs in Nigerian Universities. The sponsorship of 20 PhD theses and publication of same, he said, would help to create more awareness about the dangers of corruption to the Nigerian publics.
The Executive Secretary stated that NUC and EFCC would parley to conceptualise the scholarships in such a way that the process and the nitty-gritty of the project would not be viewed as fraudulent; stressing that at the end of the day the outcome of the scholarship would boost the achievements of both the NUC and NUS. He added that the NUC Director of Academic Planning would assemble experts in anti-corruption to develop an all-encompassing curriculum that would be adopted by the Commission under a General Studies Programmes. All undergraduates in the NUS would be required to take it as part of their requirement for graduation irrespective of their various courses of study.
Professor Rasheed said that, traditionally, universities conferred degrees only on candidates who had been found worthy both in learning and character, expressing confidence that the partnership established between NUC and EFCC would go a long way in addressing some of the challenges hindering the Commission’s effectiveness in its oversight functions of more than 150 universities in Nigeria.
The NUC Scribe also earlier briefed his visitor on the evolution of Nigerian university education, starting with the University of Ibadan then as University, College London in 1948 up to the regional universities in 1962 latter taken over by the Federal Government and known as first generation universities (for those established between 1960 and 1970). Currently, Nigeria has a total of 153 universities which included Federal 40, state 45 and private 68, he informed Mr. Magu. He noted that the NUC was presently processing more than 200 applications for establishment of more private universities which held the future prospects for university education in the country.
The Director, Academic Planning, Dr. Gidado Bello Kumo informed the EFCC Czar that NUC had programmes in place that addressed anti corruption issues running by more than 22 universities. Such programmes included; Forensic Science, Cyber Security, Criminology, some at undergraduate while others at Post graduate levels. He also stated that the general studies in the Nigerian Universities has 30 credit units and promised to revisit the GST programme with a view to including anti corruption courses as requested by the EFCC chairman.
In his contribution, the Director of Corporate Communication, Mal. Ibrahim Usman Yakasai asked the EFCC Chairman to distinguish between the functions of EFCC and that of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC). The difference according to the EFCC Czar, had being a thin line but a strong synergy was put in place and all possible duplication or usurpation of functions were being avoided adding that cases wrongly forwarded to either of the two statutory organisations were rechanneled to the appropriate organ to handle.
The visit offered the two organisations to also to also foster synergy to stamp out fraudulent self acclaimed proprietors who defraud unsuspecting applicants seeking admission in their illegal universities anywhere in Nigeria.
The high point of the visit was decoration of the Executive Secretary, NUC, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, by the Acting Chairman, Barrister Ibrahim M. Magu as anti-corruption crusader with a plaque and a badge. By way of reciprocity, the NUC scribe presented documents relating to anti- corruption issues to the EFCC boss for his organisations input and information.