The National Association of Nigerian Students has appealed to the Federal Government to reconsider the suspension of accreditation of degree certificates from Benin Republic and Togo.
The students’ body maintained that the government need to consider the impact of this decision on legitimate students who have pursued their education in the affected countries.
The PUNCH earlier reported that the Federal Ministry of Education on Tuesday announced the suspension of accreditation of degree certificates from Benin Republic and Togo.
According to a statement on Tuesday signed by Augustina Obilor-Duru on behalf of the Director Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Education, the government lamented that “some Nigerians deploy nefarious means and unconscionable methods to get a Degree with the end objective of getting graduate job opportunities for which they are not qualified”.
The suspension followed an investigative report by Daily Nigerian Newspaper titled “How Daily Nigerian reporter bagged Cotonou varsity degree in 6 weeks”.
According to the government, the suspension persists pending the outcome of an investigation involving the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education of Nigeria and the two countries as well as the Department of State Security Services and the National Youths Service Corps.
But NANS, in a statement by its Senate President, Akinteye Babatunde, lamented that the suspension has affected numerous students who are duly registered and have invested significant time and resources in their education.
Babatunde noted that the affected students now find themselves in a state of uncertainty, facing potential delays in their academic and professional pursuits.
He added, “Many have completed one, two, or three years of study, while others have successfully graduated and are eagerly awaiting the approval of their evaluation lists to participate in the National Youth Service Corps programme.
“While the government’s commitment to upholding the integrity of academic qualifications is commendable, it is essential to carefully review the impact of this decision on legitimate students who have pursued their education in these countries.
“We believe there is a need for reassessment, while the reported corruption is undoubtedly a cause for concern, it is crucial to distinguish between those involved in fraudulent activities and the vast majority of students who have pursued their education genuinely.
“Also, suspending the accreditation of all certificates risks penalising genuine students who have worked hard and adhered to the academic regulations of their institutions.
“These students should not bear the consequences of the actions of a few. Furthermore, Benin Republic and Togo host a significant number of Nigerian students seeking quality education.”
The NANS senate president also argued that the suspension can strain diplomatic and educational relations, and impact the opportunities available to Nigerian students in these neighbouring countries.
He added, “Moreso, legitimate students are now caught in bureaucratic limbo, unsure about the fate of their education and future endeavours.
“A reconsideration of the suspension would alleviate the stress and uncertainties these students currently face.
“The apex student body suggests that the Federal Government reverses the suspension while maintaining a rigorous and transparent evaluation process.
“This would demonstrate the government’s commitment to justice and fairness, ensuring that those who have legitimately pursued education in Benin Republic and Togo are not unfairly penalised.
“Moreover, addressing the causes of corruption in the evaluation process, including stringent oversight, robust checks and balances, and accountability measures, will serve to strengthen the credibility of the accreditation system,.”