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The Nigeria Universities Commission yesterday Monday sealed off the premises of World Mission University, Abraka, declaring its activities illegal and without approval from the regulatory body.

The tertiary institution located on a single storey building along the old Sapele road in Abraka, Ethiope East Local Government Area has a student’s population of 84 spread across various disciplines such as Nursing and Health Care, Information Technology, Building and Electrical Technology, Mass Communication, and Computer Science. The school also runs diploma programmes in vocational studies.

The National Coordinator of the institution, Pastor Hannah Lucky, said the higher institution  started operations in 2010 in Benin-City, Edo State, awarding diploma certificates to 5000 graduates, adding that campuses affiliated with the University exists in Oghara and Sapele in Ethiope West and Sapele Local Government Area, respectively.

She said Nursing and Healthcare has 42 students, Information Technology 12, Building and Electrical Technology 6, Media Department, 4 ,while Computer Science and Vocational Studies has 34 students.

She said the school’s proprietor was in the process of obtaining approval from the Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC), adding that the institution will award degrees to its first batch of deserving students in August 2016.

Mrs. Lucky said lecturers who teach at the institution are well qualified volunteers, stressing that the school has created training centres for vocational courses.

But Head, Closure Team (NUC), Moses Awe, who led a four- man team, lamented that the rise in illegal universities was on the increase despite government’s efforts at expanding access to tertiary education. He said, ‘It has become a notorious menace in Nigeria despite the efforts of both the federal and state governments in expanding access to the university education. You are aware that as of today in Nigeria now, we have over 140 universities with the proprietorship of federal and state universities. You are also aware of the National Open University, which is also an extension of expanded access’.

He said the school was running degree programmes under a different cover ‘of granting scholarship and organising empowerment programmes’, adding the tertiary education body has been monitoring the activities of this institution in the last seven months.

Continuing, he said, ‘And we have confirmed affirmatively that they have been running degree programmes even ridiculously in the medical sciences, like you see today; they are even running courses in nursing. As you can see, in this environment, where is the medical hospital? Where is the structure for degree programme? The so-called international body is just a cover, there is no basis for it.’

He said NUC has, through several enlightenment campaigns, educated prospective students of the dangers posed by operators of such fraudulent higher institutions as it is not recognized by the body.

His words, ‘We have been going round for the past 10 years, we are constantly engaging in public enlightenment, telling Nigerians, parents, prospective degree students in Nigeria that they should not approach illegal universities and we, as responsible organization, with mandate of law to protect integrity of qualification of degree in Nigeria, we have been doing our best to tell every Nigeria that don’t approach fake institutions that are not approved for degree programmes.’

Awe said the NUC has in the last one year closed down six illegal universities across the country, adding that many of such illegal schools are located around the Federal Capital Territory and the neighboring states.

‘In the last one year, we have closed about six illegal universities across Nigeria but most of them are within Abuja and the neighbouring states,’ he said, stressing that in 2014, the NUC, after a tour of the country, succeeded in closing down 25 universities.

He attributed the success recorded in recent times to the new strategic partnership with the ICPC,adding that ten cases are before the court in the last one year.

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