Director, Information and Public Relations of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Mr Ibrahim Yakassai on Monday refuted recent media report that there are fresh case of illegal universities currently operating in Nigeria.

Yakassai, who briefed newsmen on Monday in Abuja, said the list of 57 illegal universities bandied in recent media reports should not be misconstrued as fresh clampdown on illegal degree mills.

He said the list of the blacklisted universities was published every week in the commission’s Monday Bulletin for about five years ago, just to keep Nigerians informed and ensure that nobody wakes up one day to use any of those names to defraud unsuspecting admission seekers.

He added that the war on illegal universities that were springing in the country had been won long time ago.

Yakassai said the commission was miffed that a section of the media deliberately distorted the information in the bulletin and presented the list of the 57 illegal universities as a new thing and “even stating that the commission has suddenly woken up to do its job because change has come.”

In the bulletin, Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Julius Okojie, warned that certificates obtained from the illegal institutions would not be recognition for the purpose of employment, further studies and participation in the National Youth Service Corps.

But NUC spokesman said: “The list of illegal universities that was published as new is not new. The list has been in existence for over four, five years now. We did not just start to pursue illegal universities now. We have been doing that job in the last nine years.

“You are all living witnesses to the fact that we invited the media severally in the past to go with us to close down some of the illegal universities. I want to emphasise that there is no illegal universities operating in this country as of now that we know.

“The list that was bandied that NUC is just waking up to identify 57 illegal universities has been there. What we do is that any time we close down any illegal degree mill, we keep publishing the name in the bulletin until such a name is thoroughly stigmatised,” he said.

He added that no illegal university had ever been able to operate successfully and produced graduates because the commission had continued to keep eagle eye and vigilance.

He further disclosed that many of the promoters of such illegal institutions had been prosecuted in courts.

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