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Academic Terrorism in Nigeria: The best way to stop it is to expose it!

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While the attention of the country is focused on the acts of terrorism being perpetuated by Boko Haram sect in the central and northern parts of Nigeria, academic terrorism being waged in our schools has never really gained traction. Academic terrorism in Nigeria can be categorized into these six broad areas:

    Special Centers
    Sex for Grade
    Cultism
    Plagiarism
    Cash for Admission 
    Endless Post-graduate Program
In Nigeria, the educational sector is similar to a flat wheel on which reside sequential images of students going to school, studying for JAMB, NECO, WAEC and degree exams while the academia teach and conduct researches. When examinations are conducted (as the wheel is turned), the students are “seen” to pass their exams and when it is time for assessment, the lectures have turns of publications in international journals. But in reality, the students do not pass and most of the professors do not publish in international journals- but they look like they do. This report (first in the series) is an overview of the degree of rottenness in the educational system in Nigeria as well as a call to action.

Just last month, the principal of one of the secondary schools in my town got a shock of her life when she found out that virtually all her senior secondary III students have abandoned her school and opted for “Special Centers” for WEAC and NECO. It happened that one “Academic Terrorist” specializing in luring students to these exam centers of 'guaranteed success” paid a scheduled visit to her students.

As I was writing this draft, my pastor told me about a young girl forced to abandon a nursing school in Imo State in an attempt to escape the sexual demand of an “Academic Terrorist” in her school. At the same time, some female students with nonchalant attitude to classes are busy scheming and planning on how to get good grades in exchange for sex. Terrorized and afraid of being victimized, hardworking male and female classmates have thrown their hands up and accepted the 'sex for grade” syndrome as part of the system.

The huge sums of money that exchange hands illegally during admission processes in Nigerian higher institutions have been forcing bright but poor students to settle for a second choice course simply because the admission slots in juicier departments are being sold to the highest bidders. Everyday in one of our schools, a student is bullied/intimidated into either fleeing from his girlfriend by a cult member or terrorized into joining one. 

Academic plagiarism which can simply be defined as using someone else's work as ones own has grown exponentially in Nigeria in this new era of publish in “international” journal or perish. But how does plagiarism constitute terrorism? Is there anything wrong with HODs conniving with other faculty members to manufacture academic publication from undergraduate and graduate student's research work without the student's consent?

In one of the next articles in this series, I will expose how university professors and PhD holders claim lead/corresponding author in a research their contribution was literally copying graduate student's MSc thesis and putting it in publication format and merely squeezing in the student's name in the publication without the student's consent.

In 2010 when Nigerian media beamed their searchlight on a Sex for grade scandal at Ambrose Ali University, I introduced the discourse of academic terrorism in Nigerian post-graduate program in a piece, Dr. C.J. Iwuagwu: A Professor as an Academic Terrorist. The enthusiasm and response generated by the exposure died down quickly and different forms of academic terrorism have since taken root in Nigeria.

The present focus on academic terrorism in Nigeria is informed by the conviction and philosophy that 'the best way to stop it is to expose it.'

Academic terrorists in Nigeria have been spreading their poisonous tentacles with overbearing influence, thwarting academic success and altering outcomes today because there is a [un]conscious act of conspiracy of silence among the media and the oppressed. 

With our collective silence, wolves in sheep's clothing are thus enabled to ravage the flock, thereby destroying many. Remember Ephesians 5: 11; Take no part in the worthless deed of evil and darkness; instead, expose them

The first step at arresting further deterioration in our educational system is recruitment of whistle-blowers who wish to expose all forms of academic malpractice and terrorism in order to force reforms.

Combating the acts of terror perpetuated by Boko Haram is proving to be allusive and difficult for the Nigerian security operatives but the war on academic terrorism is far easier to win. Only if we can summon the courage and expose these act of injustice and force the relevant authorities to end it.

Got something to expose about academic terrorism in Nigeria? It doesn't matter whether it happened thirty years ago or whether the perpetuator is now the Vice Chancellor of the school. Let us not only expose a handful of these academic terrorists but the whole bosom of corruption in our educational system.

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“The best way to stop it is to expose it”