Forgery Of University Of Uyo Certificates

By Celestine Udom
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We, Members of Integrity Vanguards, a human rights advocacy group, with affiliated and links all over Nigeria, are worried at the trend of events unfolding in Nigerian Universities in respect of the loss of morals and other deviant behaviours on campuses.

Being a group with a mandate to ensure sanity and moral rectitude in Nigeria, which the University is a nucleus, we are under obligation to constantly voice out our concerns against the anomalies in the University system which include, improper dress code, putting an end to "sorting", and certificate forgery, otherwise known as "oluwole", victimization of students by lecturers and cultism, for which some highly placed persons in the society are culpable.

This unwholesome culture has bedevilled the Nigerian society to the extent that, if it remains unchecked through a collective action, we would bequeath to our future generations, unenviable legacies that will invariably lead to institutional decay in the country. Of course, when social institutions in a country are weak, sustainable development remains a mirage.

We can recall that the period between 1998 and 2002, stands out in the annals of the university history as "inglorious years". During this period, the then Vice- Chancellor of the university, Professor Akpan Hogan Ekpo initiated a total clampdown on cultism, examination malpractices and certificate forgery, and over 1000 ghost students were shown their way out, while over 500 university certificates were withdrawn from those who graduated through surreptitious means.

It's pertinent to note that that bold and imaginative step was highly applauded, as it went a long way to restoring the dignity and prestige of the University of Uyo.

But we have observed with utmost dismay, that that culture of constantly purging the institution of the perpetrators of certificate forgery and other corrupt practices had long been sacrificed on the altar of greed, lust for money, and other manners of personal aggrandizement. This has resulted in the reinforcement of cultism in the university, which until recently, was in a state of steady decline occasioned by the Akpan Ekpo clampdown.

Very recently, our searchlight was beamed on a situation where one Akpan, Bassey Albert, a 1997 graduate of Economics Department in faculty of Social Sciences, of the University of Uyo, forged the University certificate to enable him secure a job with UBA in 1997.

What is more disturbing is the fact that in spite of the embarrassing dimension which this scandal had assumed in the political and social circles, three lecturers in the department of economics, had allegedly received the sum of 3 million naira each from Akpan Bassey Albert, for the ignoble purpose of "covering the mess".

This was achieved by reinventing scores, and result sheets which they backdated to accommodate the desire Akpan, Bassey Albert.

In spite of the fact that this offense is punishable under the Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Act of 2003, it has raised a serious moral question about the integrity of the leadership of the University of Uyo, that people believe are accomplice in the forgery scam.

In addition, this contradicts the anti-corruption crusade of the Federal Government of Nigeria, against which the ICPC was established.

In our very recent history, we can recall how Governors, National Assembly Leaders, and other supposed leaders in society were embattled on account of this certificate forgery menace, and in some cases, leading to their removal / resignation from the exalted offices they occupied.

This was predicated on the reason that these leaders lacked the moral rectitude to lead, as they had little or nothing to offer a country that is in dire need for sustainable development.

We hereby appeal to you to direct the setting up of an investigative panel to review the scores and results of the 1997 graduates of Economics department of your University, with a view to ascertaining the authenticity or otherwise of the certificate of Akpan, Bassey Albert.

Finally, it's our belief that the outcome of this review exercise will put to rest the lingering and scandalous allegation of certificate forgery, and the dignity of the University of Uyo shall go a long way to being restored.

We thank you, in anticipation of your swift response in this direction.

Yours faithfully,