I read with interest the Editorial of the Nigerian Tribune dated November 26, 2019, page 13 on the above subject. I was also surprised when the National Examination Council (NECO) disclosed the dismissal of 70 members of its staff for certificate forgery. The examination body’s action came after a self-cleansing exercise unmasked the offenders, who had all along exhibited and profited from fake credentials. It is heart-warming and definitely a surprise to find an examination body statutorily empowered to ensure that the human capital development enterprise in the country remains as viable as possible being entangled in a massive certificate scandal that saw as many as 70 members of its staff being kicked out of their illegally acquired position.
It is amazing to read a statement by the spokesperson of NECO, Mr. Azeez Sani, saying that the certificate verification committee carried out its assignment carefully by inviting all staff with doubtful certificates to appear before it, during which some staffs actually corroborated that their certificates were fake.
Is the action not belated? The entire episode questions the integrity of the examination body. I am in agreement with the editorial that it is alarming that the NECO spokesman referred so proudly to the diligence of its management, diligence which only became noticeable after odious damage had been done to the body in particular, and the country as a whole.
All these point out to the fact that the recruitment process in that organisation is flawed and designed not to actually employ and encourage the young qualified citizens of the country to get into a better position in office, rather it is designed for those with connections and as in this case those with falsified credentials to unjustifiably collect jobs and position in offices that are meant for the qualified citizens of the country.
It is alarming and begs the question that if an examination body that is recognised worldwide can’t detect falsified certificate of its employees during the process of the interview or recruitment, then how hard will it be able to detect same from candidates who sit annually for its examination.
I am also concerned about the next actions to be taken after the dismissal of forgers. The dismissed falsifiers have undoubtedly robbed more qualified citizens of the opportunities of employment and this quite star-crossed, especially considering the numerous amount of falsifiers out there in undeserved positions in the public and private sectors. These falsifiers deserved to be punished under the appropriate law for their crimes.
Nevertheless, the examination body deserves some commendation for not sugar-coating and trying to hide the truth from the public. Instead, it stands tall and holds its head high despite the blow and criticism for not detecting the falsified results in time. I can say that the management showed great bravery in demonstrating anti-corruption stance against forgery.
It is, therefore, necessary to call on other similar institutions in the public and private sectors to always be on the alert in detecting credentials of applicants, whether for examination or employment, to avoid such embarrassments.