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Fake Certificates: 10 Nigeria Entertainers Who Bagged Degrees From Togo, Benin Republic Varsities

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Following an exposé by undercover journalist, Umar Audu, revealing his detailed acquisition of a degree from a university in Cotonou, Benin Republic, and subsequent undetected deployment to Cross Rivers State for the NYSC programme, there has been a strong reaction among Nigerians.

The report, which has since gained prominence, led the federal government to promptly suspend the accreditation and evaluation of degree certificates from Benin Republic and Togo.

The government also announced intentions to extend this sanction to countries such as Uganda, Kenya, and Niger Republic.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Augustina Obilor-Duru said in a statement on Tuesday, January 2, that the report lent credence to suspicions that some Nigerians deploy nefarious means and unconscionable methods to get a degree.

He said: “This report lends credence to suspicions that some Nigerians deploy nefarious means and unconscionable methods to get a Degree with the end objective of getting graduate job opportunities for which they are not qualified.

“The Federal Ministry of Education vehemently decries such acts and with effect from 2nd January 2024 is suspending evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from Benin and Togo Republics pending the outcome of an investigation that would involve the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria and the two countries, the ministries responsible for Education in the two countries as well the Department of State Security Services (DSS), and the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC).”

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Reacting to the decision of the federal government, Zubby Micheal applauded the development while commenting on an Instagram post, saying that many “mugus” have been parading doctorate titles.

On Channels Television’s “Politics Today”, the Education Minister, Tahir Mamman, who appeared as a guest on Wednesday, January 3, vowed to go after citizens utilising fake certificates obtained from foreign countries to secure employment in Nigeria.

Describing such individuals as “criminals” involved in a criminal chain, Mamman insisted they ought to be arrested and not empathised with.

He said: “They are criminals and you know there is no timeframe to criminality. We will trace them. As long as we can lay our hands on their institutions and they are right here with us, certainly, the security agencies will go after them because they are criminals.”

“We are not going to stop at just Benin and Togo. We are going to extend the dragnet to countries like Uganda, Kenya, and even Niger here where such institutions have been set up.

“We will not stop at the suspension of certificates from Togo and Benin Republic alone. We are going to extend the suspension to other countries where such institutions operate.”

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The development comes just after many entertainers got awarded degrees, including honourary doctorates from various universities in the Benin Republic.

Below is a list of entertainers including singers and actors who bagged degrees from the universities in the aforementioned countries.

Ayra Starr

Mavin star girl, Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe aka Ayra Start attended Les Cours Sonou University in Benin Republic and received a BA degree in International Relations and Political Science at age 18.

“I made sure I got into school early because my goal was to be a teenage pop star. So, I got into school early. So I got into the university. I schooled in Benin Republic. My course was three years old. I graduated at 18.

“I have a degree in International Relations and Political science. Though, I’m thinking of getting another one,” said the “Rush” crooner in an interview with “Nairobi News”, in Kenya.

Besides Ayra Starr, the others listed were awarded honorary doctorate degrees. They include:

Kafayat Shafau

2020 saw sensational dancer, Kafayat Oluwatoyin Shafau, also referred to as Kaffy, receive an Honourary Doctorate Degree for her remarkable role in the African dance industry from Escae Benin University in the Benin Republic.

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Taking to Instagram to share the good news, the mother of two wrote: “I’m humbled to be decorated this afternoon by Escae Benin University with an Honorary Doctorate in recognition as a “pioneer in the business of dance in Africa”. This award is not just for me but for an institution. That institution is the dance industry.”

Mike Ezuruonye

In June 2021, popular actor and filmmaker, Michael Ezuruonye, also received an Honourary Doctorate of Arts and Literature from ESTAM University, Seme Campus, located in the Republic of Benin.

He shared the news on his Instagram page, expressing excitement and gratitude to his fans while identifying himself as Dr. Michael Ezuruonye.

It’s cause of you my fans, supporters and good people this happened. Dr Michael Ezuruonye loves you all.”

Martins Okey Justice

Along with Mike, singer J. Martins bagged an honourary doctorate from the same institution.

Posing with the actor, Jay Martins in a post via his Instagram page wrote: “Ladies and Gentlemen say hello to the new Doctorates in town my humble self & my brother @mikeezu from Estam University Benin Republic

“A very big Thank you to all my supportive fans it’s because of you that I have come this far and I do not take you guys for granted so when next you see me remember to add Dr Martins Okey Justice aka J.Martins

Have a beautiful weekend everyone”.

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Alexx Ekubo

In August of the same year, Alexx Ekubo received an honorary doctorate in Arts and Culture from Benin Republic’s Institut Supérieur de Communication et de Geston University.

The Nollywood act took to Instagram to share a picture in a ceremonial graduation gown with the caption: “Introducing, Dr Alexx Ekubo. Thanks to the governing council of the Institut Supérieur de Communication et de Geston (ISCG UNIVERSITY) for conferring on me a Doctorate (Honorary) Degree in Arts & Culture”.

Peter Okoye

In June 2022, Peter Okoye aka Mr P, one-half of the well-known singing duo Psquare, received an honorary doctorate from the Escae-Benin University in the Benin Republic.

He was conferred Doctor of Arts by the school which he described as a “distinguished educational institution.”

Via his Instagram page, he shared the news, stating: “Dear Team P! It’s a great honor to be decorated by a distinguished educational institution, Who have recognised my contribution to Dance and Music as well as my support for the youth in the entertainment industry.”

IK Ogbonna

Popular Nigerian actor, Ikechukwu Mitchel Ogbonna aka IK, received an honorary degree in June 2022.

A Doctorate (Honorary) Degree of Arts in Leadership and Development was granted to IK by the Institut Superieur De Technologies Et De Management, Togo.

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Ireti Doyle

Ireti Doyle, who starred in Wedding Party, was included in the 2022 academic honour roll.

The Benin Republic’s Institut Superieur de Communication et de Gestion University awarded the seasoned actress an honorary doctorate in August.

The actress acknowledged that although she did have a “healthy expectation of receiving accolades,” an academic honour was not what she had in mind.

Bob Manuel Udokwu

Another famous Nigerian actor, Bob Manuel, received an honorary doctorate from the same Cotonou-based University.

The Institut Superieur de Communication et de Gestion University awarded the former Guinness Ultimate Search games master a Doctorate Degree in Arts and Culture.

Ireti Doyle disclosed the news as she shared photos from the ceremony on her Instagram page.

Pete Edochie

Veteran actor and seasoned movie star, Pete Edochie received a double honourary doctorate from the International School of Technology and Management (ISTM) University, Togo in September 2023.

The 76-year-old movie stalwart bagged a Doctorate in Literature, a Doctorate in Arts, and a lifetime achievement at the Togo-based varsity.

Source: Ruebenabati.com.ng

 

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JUST IN: NLC Suspends Nationwide Protest, Extends Ultimatum To FG

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has suspended its nationwide protests, which were held in different states of the federation earlier on Tuesday.

The Labour, in a communiqué at the end of its National Executive Council meeting, said the objectives of the protest were achieved on the first day of the demonstration.

The communique partly reads, “Consequently, NEC-in-session resolved as follows: to suspend street action for the second day of the Protest having achieved overwhelming success thus attained the key objectives of the 2-day protest on the first day.”

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Recall that Nigeria has been hit by rising inflation, food inflation, forex crisis, economic hardship and high cost of living occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, attracting protests in parts of the country.

The Presidency had engaged labour leaders in a last-minute talks on Monday night but the meeting ended in a stalemate as the NLC insisted that the protest was going to hold.

But, the NLC grounded economic activities across the country on Tuesday, with labour leader Joe Ajaero, saying that the protest was about hunger and not just a clamour for a review of the minimum wage.

Ajaero said, “You have to understand it. This protest is about hunger. What of those who are not working? The minimum wage, when will it be completed? When will it be implemented? What will be the minimum wage that will remove hunger?”

The communiqué further stated, “the highest organ of the NLC suspended street action for the second day of the Protest having achieved overwhelming success thus attained the key objectives of the 2-day protest on the first day.

READ ALSO: Hardship: Workers Begin Protest In Ondo

“However, Nationwide action continues tomorrow with simultaneous Press Conferences across all the states of the federation by the state Councils of the Congress including the National Headquarters.

“To reaffirm and extend the 7-days ultimatum by another 7 days which now expires on the 13th day of March, 2024 within which the Government is expected to implement all the earlier agreement of the 2nd day of October, 2023 and other demands presented in our letter during today’s nationwide protest.

“To meet and decide on further lines of action if on the expiration of the 14days Government refuses to comply with the demands as contained in the ultimatum.”

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I Went From Millionaire To Zeronaire, Bash Ali Laments At 68

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Former World Boxing Federation Cruiserweight Champion, Bashiru Lawrence Ali, aka Bash Ali, took to social media on Tuesday to reflect on his commitment to fighting corruption as he celebrates his 68th birthday.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Ali recounted the sacrifices he endured over 17 years in his quest to host his Guinness World Record Boxing Championship Fight in Nigeria, emphasizing his refusal to succumb to corrupt practices.

The former World Boxing Federation Champion revealed that his principled stand had cost him dearly, resulting in a decline in his financial fortunes from being a millionaire in dollars to having virtually nothing in Naira.

He wrote: “Today Tuesday, February 27 is my birthday.

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“For 17 years I struggled in vain to host in my country, Nigeria my Guinness World Record Boxing Championship Fight because I was bold to say no to corruption in sport in particular and in Nigeria in general.

“In 17 years, I went from being a millionaire in dollars to a zeronaire in naira.

“In 17 years, I was beaten and injured that I had to be admitted twice and treated at the National Hospital in Abuja.

“In 17 years, I was detained eight times at various police stations in Abuja. In 17 years, I was once detained at Kuje Prison for 43 days.

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“I went through hell in my country not because I am a criminal but because I say no to corruption. Despite juicy offers to fight outside of Nigeria, I never gave up on my dream to fight in Nigeria and I never gave up on Nigeria.

“Today, our dream is finally becoming a reality and because I am an extraordinary human being, I am going to fight until I am 70 years old, retire young and healthy with a lot of money and then go on to be the President of Nigeria. This is my ultimate goal so mark my words.

“Thank u very much for always being by my side. I appreciate you, always. Happy birthday The Great Bash Ali.”

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FULL LIST: Agencies That May Be Scrapped Based On Oronsaye 800-page Report

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President Bola Tinubu has ordered the full implementation of the Oronsaye report.⁣

As a result, the government announced the merging, subsuming, scrapping, and relocation of several agencies.

In 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan established the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies, with Mr. Steve Oronsaye as the Chairman.

Coming from a private sector background, Oronsaye transitioned into the civil service at a senior level and ascended to the position of Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

Submitted in 2012, the Oronsaye report highlighted the existence of 541 Federal Government parastatals, commissions, and agencies, both statutory and non-statutory.

The 800-page report recommended the reduction of statutory agencies from 263 to 161, scrapping 38 agencies, merging 52, and reverting 14 to departments in different ministries.

A previous investigation by The PUNCH found that the Nigerian government has the potential to save more than N241bn if the recommendations are put into action.

READ ALSO: 20 Insights Into Oronsaye Report As EFCC, FRSC, Others Set For Merger

Below is a list of some of the agencies that may be scrapped if the Oronsaye report is fully implemented as ordered by President Tinubu:

One of the key suggestions in the report is the consolidation of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission into a single agency.

Additionally, the report recommended the elimination of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, with their responsibilities being incorporated into the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
The Salaries and Wages Income Commission is likely to face a similar fate..
38 Federal Agencies were recommended for abolition, including the Public Complaints Commission, National Poverty Eradication Programme, Utilities Charges Commission, National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, National Intelligence Committee, and more.
National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS be merged as a Department under the Centre for Disease Control in the Federal Ministry of Health.
The merger of National Emergency Management and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu Orders Full Implementation Of Oronsanye Report⁣ ⁣

The Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa be abolished and its functions, along with those of the Technical Aids Corps, transferred to an appropriate Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Infrastructure Concessionary and Regulatory Commission be subsumed in the Bureau of Public Enterprises for greater synergy and their enabling laws amended accordingly.
It was suggested that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, and the Nigerian Metrological Agency should be combined into a new entity called the Federal Civil Aviation Authority, with their laws adjusted to accommodate the merger.
The committee suggested merging the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to enhance resource management and utilisation.
The committee suggested repealing the enabling law of the National Commission for Nomadic Education and transferring the Commission’s activities to the Universal Basic Education Commission.
The National Council of Arts and Culture will combine with the National Theatre and the National Troupe to form a single organisation.

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The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure be merged with National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization and Project Development Institute
The committee suggested that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria and the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission be abolished, with the government focusing solely on offering consular services and vaccinations to prospective pilgrims.
The Nigerian Communications Commission, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission and the regulatory functions of the Nigerian Postal Services were recommended by the committee to be merged.
The National Information Technology Development Agency to be fused into the Ministry of Communication Technology
Nigerian Television Authority, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria & Voice of Nigeria into the Federal Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria.
The Nigerian Army University to be merged with the Nigerian Defence Academy; to function as a faculty with the the Nigerian Defence Academy.

Air Force institute of Technology also to function as faculty within Nigerian Defence Academy.
Debt Management Office to become an extra-ministerial department in the Federal Ministry of Finance Public Health Department to return to the Federal Ministry of Health
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Council was recommended to merge with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to enhance resource management and utilisation.

One important recommendation from the committee was to stop providing government funding to professional bodies and councils. Therefore, it is necessary to revise the Professional Bodies (Special Provisions) Act of 1972, which requires the government to offer financial assistance to these organisations.

The list comprises various professional councils and boards in Nigeria, such as the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Computer Professionals Council of Nigeria, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, Nigeria Press Council, Architects Registration Council, Council for Registered Engineers of Nigeria, Estate Surveyors’ Registration Board, Town Planners Council, Nigerian Builders Council, Quantity Surveyors’ Registration Board of Nigeria, and Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientists.

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