National Universities Commission (NUC) said that its public sensitisation on the activities of illegal universities had yielded fruit, leading to the imprisonment of an illegal operator.
Prof. Chiedu Mafiana, NUC Director, Quality Assurance, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that two suspected illegal university operators were facing trial before the court of law.
Mafiana said that the premises of the illegal institutions had since been sealed.
He said that members of the public had become more aware and cautious about the activities of such operators.
“One of the operators that had been running an unapproved affiliate university got jailed for about three years in February 2013, while two others are standing trial.
“We ought to have concluded that trial by this time, but for the transfer of the judges handling the cases. But I am happy to say that the case has been re-opened.
“However, one of the owners of such university passed on in the process after the university was sealed,” he said.
The NUC director added that efforts were on to continue sensitising the public on the approved universities and accredited courses.
According to him, the sensitisation had impacted on Nigerian parents, and prospective students as they are now more aware of the situation.
“We think we have sufficiently sensitised our people, and we are quite satisfied with the kind of response we have been getting so far from the public.
“We now receive calls for enquiries not just from the Nigerian public but also from those in The Diaspora.
“The fact that they are asking these questions simply means that the awareness is gaining grounds,” Mafiana said.
He added that the NUC would continue to protect the interest of Nigerians who are increasingly in search of knowledge, by ensuring that they did not fall prey to some people who wish to rip them off.
NAN reports that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had taken over the prosecution of apprehended operators of illegal universities in the country.
This is to allow the NUC focus on its mandate of regulating the universities.
The NUC in collaboration with the ICPC had carried out crack down operations on about 41 illegal degree-awarding institutions in the country with visible addresses. (NAN)