The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, has said that the country’s higher institutions must be free from corruption.

He stated this last Tuesday at the NUC Auditorium Abuja at the maiden meeting of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) management with Registrars of Corps-Producing Institutions in Nigeria.

He also blamed academic instability on lack of uniform calendar for institutions to run their activities.

Speaking, the Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, said between 2017 and 2021, about one million candidates were illegally admitted into institutions.

He said corruption and illegal admissions occurred in state higher institutions because state governments established them without having funds to properly run them.

Prof. Oloyede said JAMB was yet to release the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) results because of some internal appraisal.

 He said: “We don’t want the situation where you release results and you start to withdraw some. So, we’ve asked people to submit reports, particularly of malpractices.”

Director-General, NYSC, Major-General Ibrahim Shuaibu said the meeting was to seek ways of eliminating increasing flaws in the NYSC mobilisation process.

He said in schools where Registrars had abdicated their roles to subordinate officers, various forms of abuses and shortfalls were noticed.

He said this had given rise to occasional mobilisation of unqualified persons, many of whom had been detected and fished out by NYSC field officers.

“Management is now determined more than ever to tighten loopholes and commence the prosecution of anyone found complicit in the mobilisation of unqualified persons.

“This meeting is therefore part of enlightenment for the key officers to rise up to their responsibilities because ignorance is a stranger to the law,” he said.

He further stated that NYSC had been introducing far-reaching innovations to make the mobilisation processes fool-proof and overcome some challenges associated with the process. He recalled that the NYSC had convened a similar meeting with Registrars of foreign Corps Producing Institutions in some selected countries in the West African sub-region, which was very incisive, noting that the resolutions reached would ensure the overall success of the mobilisation of foreign-trained graduates.

The NYSC Director-General explained that the feedback generated from the meeting would significantly close the gap between policy and implementation, stressing that such resolutions have been challenged due to what the representatives of some of the institutions reported as the difficulty of getting the endorsement of the School Management.

He recounted some of the challenges that required elimination to include: Use of American Style of writing date, i.e Month/ Day/ Year, instead of the adopted style of Day/ Month/ Year; Use of date of issuance of Statement of Result as Date of Graduation; Disparity in Date of Graduation Uploaded online and the Date of Graduation on the Statement of Result.

Others included: deliberate upload of wrong matriculation numbers and delayed response when such anomalies were reported; Upload of wrong mode of study, especially, part-time as full time in contravention of the NYSC Act; and Disparity in the Course of Study on Call-up Letter and Statement of Result, among others.\

Major-General Ibrahim highlighted that the recent introduction of Date of Graduation and Course of Study on the NYSC Certificate of National Service and Certificate of Exemption came as a response to observed anomalies where records of graduates at the schools were at variance with the documents submitted by graduates to NYSC during the service year. To checkmate the incidence, the NYSC defined what date of graduation meant during the 2021 Batch ‘C’ Pre-Mobilisation Workshop, which also formed part of the resolutions at the Workshop.

He lamented that despite the resolution, NYSC still found discrepancies in the dates of graduation in what was uploaded and the certificates presented by graduates on camps. He clarified that date of graduation remained the date the Senate of Academic Board approved the result of the graduating students which carry the format of Date, Month and Year. According to him, this is the date that is to be uploaded on the portal and also appear on the Statements of Results and Certificates issued to graduates.

He reminded the meeting that another issue raised at the Pre-mobilisation workshop was the rising cases of unholy alliance between Institutions of higher learning in the harvest of data of unapproved programmes for NYSC mobilisation. Despite that, he frowned that investigations revealed that many unapproved academic programmes were currently offered alongside the approved programmes in some schools, while graduates of those unapproved programmes were uploaded on approved courses. He said that the NYSC investigated and reliably identified three Corps Producing Institutions who uploaded such candidates on their Senate or Academic Board Approved List for NYSC Mobilisation, among other issues.

He revealed that as at 10th May, 2022, NYSC had only 320 active Corps Producing Institutions in Nigeria.   

Earlier, in a welcome Address, NYSC Director, Corps Mobilisation, Mrs. V. Ango had remarked that the Service desired that the mobilisation exercise become a coordinate function free of all forms of defects and encumbrances to guarantee desired outcome.

She noted that the meeting was anchored on the theme: “Appreciating the Role of Registrars as Fulcrum in the Mobilisation Process,” which indicated that their roles were critical, stressing that for the scheme to achieve desired results, the use of credible Student Affairs Officers (SAOs) and Data Entry Officers (DEOs) was essential.

Mrs. Ango pointed out that the appointment of these key officers should not be based on ethnic or religious sentiments, as undermining merit in the choice of people might lead to unpalatable consequences. 

At the meeting was the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello; as well as the Chairman, NYSC National Governing Board, Amb. Fatima Balla Abubakar.