A shameful trend has been going on in Benin Republic over selling of fake certificates to the highest bidders. The current one involves Universite Nationale du Benin (now Universite d’Abomey- Calavi) in Benin Republic, where a fake PhD holder, Mr Chima IGWE appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government as Acting Director General of the Nigeria foremost research institute, Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) Lagos Nigeria.
The self-acclaimed doctor has been using the fake PhD for promotion and appointments for the past 18 years under past correction era! This was further exposed by the PUNCH NEWSPAPER in its article of 3rd SEPT titled [ICYMI] From Benin with fraud: DG secures FIIRO top job without claimed PhD certificate.
Of course, we know, during the some era in the past such crime could have been swept under the carpet; that was the era when people do things anyhow and go away with it. How can such persons with academic, moral and financial corruption be heading sensitive positions like that during the reign of President Muhammadu Buhari who claims to have zero tolerance for corruption? Why is Benin Republic becoming the incubation centre for fake certificated graduates? The consequence can only be bad omen to that is capable of making worse the bad situation we are in.
It is pertinent for us to remember that the NYSC has recently nabbed over fifty fake graduates from various Universities in Benin Republic while hundreds are at large. That has explained further the mess we have got ourselves into with the state of education in the land. Nigeria has been known for academic prowess and we cannot allow anything to weigh that down. Setting bad precedence for new generation is the same as allowing this kind of crime to go unpunished.
The Governing Council Board Chairman of FIIRO, Dr Gwarzo should take urgent action in saving the face of Buhari government by stepping down Igwe’s appointment pending the conclusion of the obvious investigation.
People of integrity like Dr Ibrahim Gwarzo, Professor Saburi Adesanya, Dr Tokunbo Fayokun, Mr Chuks Ololo, Alhaji Tajudeen Umar Na’abba, Dr Harami Balami, Dr Manasey Gwaza and Mr Bakare Adewale on FIIRO Board should not swindle their integrity and good names and the trust of President Buhari on this issue.
They will put question marks on the integrity of President Buhari who they represent in the Institute should they fail to redeem FIIRO from these intellectual scavengers.
If the University where Igwe claimed to have bagged his PhD knows the gravity of his crime on their image, integrity and future, they should address the press immediately to dissociate themselves and declare the “attestation paper” in his possession as invalid for PhD certificate. Then the Federal Civil Service should subsequently charge him for falsification, perjury and intellectual property crimes. That can serve as deterrent of course to others.
In fact, the Institute should also do something urgent about Igwe as such actions have negative and dangerous effects on its corporate image which founders and others had laboured for. A thorough probe must be conducted on such similar civil servants in FIIRO and beyond as many of such could still be hiding elsewhere and killing Nigerian development. In fact, FIIRO is now synonymous to fraud as some now refer to it as FAKE Intellectual Industrial Research Oshodi.
Civility, Extant Law and normalcy require that Igwe should step down pending the investigation of such alleged crime against him. He can’t be presiding over the affairs of the Institute while issuing instructions to cover up privileged information from those investigating him. This shows the negligence or incompetence of the Administrative leaders of the institute and that is one of the reasons the probe must extend beyond Igwe to other Directors and staff of the Institute before the FAKE people set the nation on fire with their fake certificates and fake knowledge. It is even suspicious that the union of researchers in the institute are accomplice or how come will they be looking things degenerate to this level without any action on their part?
The issue of certificate forgery in top positions in the country is sickening. The question is, what future are we building once we inculcate such ill ideology and mentality of forgery in the minds of our new generations. Those who have suffered with time and money to obtain certificate reputably are not numb-sculls as they cannot continue being answerable to Document Thieves.
Developments like this and the recent FBI revelation about heavy cybercrimes of some Nigerians are critical to the international image and foreign policy of Nigeria.
Although Igwe has godfathers such as the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonaya Onnu yet being a patriot, the honourable Mimister will not allow himself to be dragged into this high level crime coupled with the ‘incorruptible’ government of Buhari he is working for.
Crimes like this can not be allowed to go unpunished. A society where promotion is based on how one can fake things hardly progress. We have a lot of issues created by these certificate forgers. Enough is enough!
OMIKUNLE MURITALA, AGBOLOGUN, OGUN STATE