By CHRIS OCHAYI
Senate Committee on Education yesterday directed the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to apprehend and prosecute operators of illegal universities, saying their activities have impacted negatively on educational development of the country.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Joy Emordi who spoke in Abuja when she led other members of the committee on oversight function visit to the National Universities Commission (NUC), directed that the Commission should forward details of all illegal universities to the EFCC with immediate effect.
â€œIt is a very serious matter which EFCC should take up. NUC have to send the list of all of them to the EFCC because it is economic crimeâ€, she said.
She said operators of universities that had not been registered by the Federal Government were committee financial crime and therefore, the EFCC must go after them to nip in bud their activities.
Senator Emordi, who disclosed her office was daunted with petitions from the victims of illegal universities, urged the commission to embark on aggressive and massive media campaign against the trendÂ to save the future education system in Nigeria.
According to her, â€œas we talk, most of them are still very much in operation hiding and there is nowhere you can locate or identify them without engaging the vibrant media to expose them by creating public awarenessâ€.
She added that, â€œsuch campaign will enable the general public to be acquainted with their activities and people whose such activities are taking place within their domain will identify and report them to youâ€.
While collaborative efforts to tackle the challenges, Senator Emordi urged NUC management to enlist the service of the National Youth Service Corps to effectively checkmate the activities of the illegal universitiesâ€.
Earlier, the NUC through its Deputy Executive Secretary, Professor Ignatius Uvah told the Senate Committee that, the commission had uncovered about 45 ilegal universities operating across the country.
Dr, Uvah who noted the NUC has enforced the closures of most of the institutions, added, â€œwe have the list of illegal universities which we have closed down. But they could still go underground to operateâ€.
â€œWe have engaged a consultant firm owned by former Inspector General of Police (IGP) who travel with members of our committee round the country with a view to locating and identifying locations where they are in operation?.
â€œWe have surveillance also going around to look for them. We have prosecuted some of them in court and the court is cooperating. We have closed down those identified and subsequently sent the EFCC after some of themâ€, he said.