The Federal Government has begun the probe of about 107 universities, mainly private ones, which were set up in the country in the last 15 years.
Also, the government is beaming its searchlight on institutions, both public and private, that are affiliated with universities within and outside the country and that award degrees on behalf of the universities they are affiliated with.
An investigation by Vanguard Learning shows that the investigation is to ascertain whether the institutions have not been turned into mere degree mills.
The Federal Ministry of Education is championing the probe, following the expose by a reporter that he was able to bag a degree from a university in Benin Republic within six weeks and also took part in the one-year National Youth Service Corps Scheme, NYSC, for a second time.
The committee set up to look into the matter has among others as members the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede; the Minister of Youths, Jamila Bio-Ibrahim; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar.
One of its terms of reference is that private universities established in the last 15 years should be investigated.
“Without prejudice to the periodic accreditation exercise of the NUC, examine whether or not private universities established in the last 15 years have in place prescribed facilities, appropriate management structure, adequate funding of programmes, requisite staff (nature of staff-full time, contract, adjunct, visiting, other types).”
With 147 private universities licensed to operate in Nigeria, 107 of them were registered in the last 15 years.
They included those set up religious groups and individuals.
For the affiliated institutions, some people see them as not being different from satellite campuses where anything goes in some instances.