The Nigerian Academy of Science has accused the National Universities Commission, especially some of its officials, who conduct accreditation in the nations’ universities of collecting ‘brown envelopes.’
‘Brown envelope’ syndrome is a euphemism for bribe collection.
The NAS also accused the commission of allowing government’s interference in carrying out accreditation of courses in universities.
The NAS President, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, stated this while delivering a convocation lecture titled, “Building a New Generation University: Problems and Prospects”, at the University of Abuja.
According to him, the NUC has derailed from its mandate as a regulatory body of university education to become a tool of the government.
Calling on the commission to engage only people with integrity in carrying out accreditation, he stressed the need for a change of attitude by academics in the country.
Tomori said, “In the recent past, the NUC has become a tool of the government, not a true commission for university education in Nigeria. Our NUC has gone along with the government without a whimper. When there are allegations that some of the people who conduct accreditation exercise in the name of the NUC receive brown envelopes, the NUC will ask: ‘Are those who give or take the envelopes not your colleagues?’. But NUC forgets one thing, that the accreditation bears ‘NUC’s accreditation.’
“It is clear and glaring that many lecturers are hirelings, peddling their certificates to the numerous newly created staff-starved universities, and when universities hire lecturers for accreditation purposes, then you wonder what type of accreditation we are getting in our universities and what NUC is doing about it.”
The NAS President, who also lamented the use of an archaic benchmark by the commission in its accreditation operations, warned that Nigerian universities would continue to produce unemployable graduates if the trend was not reviewed.
According to him, there is the need to develop better curricula that will reflect the needs of society as well to ensure that Nigerian graduates effective change agents.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the NUC, Mallam Ibrahim Yakassai, did not respond to the many calls and SMS sent to his telephone line on the allegation.
On the recent sacking of 13 vice-chancellors, Tomori accused the government of high-handedness.
“The so-called sacking is a demonstration of the high handedness of the minister of education and a lack of respect for the guiding procedures, rules and regulations for appointment of vice-chancellors.”