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June 14, 2024

NANS wants Tinubu to intervene in suspension of certificates from Benin, Togo

NANS wants Tinubu to intervene in suspension of certificates from Benin, Togo

By Adesina Wahab

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) – West Africa Affairs, has expressed displeasure with the continued suspension of certificates issued by universities in Benin Republic and the Republic of Togo by the federal government.

The association therefore called on President Bola Tinubu to intervene in the matter, saying the future of thousands of Nigerian youths studying in those countries is being jeopardised.

The position of the association is contained in a statement issued on Friday by Comrade Joshua Olakunle, the Director, NANS – West Africa Affairs.

The association added that a lot of prominent Nigerians have studied in those countries and have proven that they could hold their heads high among their peers in the society.

It called on the government to expedite action on the report of the panel it set up early in the year to look into allegation of certificate racketeering in some countries and even within Nigeria.

“We acknowledge that some Nigerian universities have also been accused of certificate racketeering and other misconduct, yet the government has not taken similar action. In fact, some Nigerian universities are not accredited, and this has not led to a suspension of their certificates. We urge the government to address the issues in our own universities rather than targeting foreign institutions.

“Despite the odds, some institutions in Benin Republic and Togo are making reasonable efforts to develop their facilities. We commend the Benin National Government for its efforts to harmonize and sanitize the sub-sector through policies such as “shutdown any erring” university, compulsory French Language studies, and accreditation of courses.

“However, we are concerned that the suspension of certificates will not address the root causes of the problem. Instead, we propose a collaborative approach to regulate and upgrade university education in the sub-region. This will strengthen regional cooperation and improve education standards.

“It is ironic that Nigerian students are seeking education in neighbouring countries due to the absence of alternatives in Nigeria. Out of over two million youths seeking admission into Nigerian universities yearly, only 500,000 – 700,000 gain admission. This has led to a brain drain, with many students seeking education in Benin Republic and Togo.

“We urge President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as a listening father, to consider the future of these young Nigerians and intervene in this matter. We request that the government works with ECOWAS countries to regulate and upgrade university education in the sub-region, rather than ostracizing graduates of Benin and Togo universities.

“It is worth noting that many Nigerian celebrities have attended universities in Benin Republic and Togo and have gone on to achieve great success in their fields. Examples include Ayra Starr, who graduated from Les Cours Sonou University with a BA in Political and International Relations; Kaffy, who was awarded an honorary doctorate degree for her contributions to the African dance industry; Michael Ezuruonye, Mike; J. Martins; Peter Okoye aka Mr. P; and Pete Edochie, among many others. This shows that universities in Benin Republic and Togo have the potential to produce talented and successful individuals who can contribute positively to Nigeria’s development.

“We are willing to work with the government, NYSC, Ministry of Education, and other stakeholders to identify and address any issues with substandard universities. We will serve as whistleblowers to ensure that any school not meeting standards is held accountable.

“We note with interest the statement by the Minister for Education that they are done with their report and will do the needful in a month. We urge the Minister to keep to his word and ensure that the report is implemented swiftly. Nigerian students in Benin Republic and Togo are eagerly waiting for a resolution to this issue, and any further delay will only exacerbate their plight.

“We believe that education is key to unlocking the potential of our youth, and we cannot afford to let them down. We call on President Tinubu to use his fatherly love and office to hear the cry of these students and find a solution that will benefit all.

“We recently celebrated Democracy Day, a day meant to honor and reflect on the democratic principles and freedoms we cherish. However, after the celebration, it is crucial to ask what Democracy Day truly means in the hearts of our citizens. Are they happy? Are our students, who are stranded in Benin Republic and Togo, content knowing that Nigerians are celebrating Democracy Day while they suffer from the suspension of their certificates?

“The Federal Government should view this Democracy Day as an opportunity to work on the plight of these stranded students. It is essential to expedite decisions and judgments that will allow these students to graduate and participate in the NYSC program. This action would not only demonstrate the true essence of democracy but also show that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a father and a working president committed to the welfare of Nigerian students.”