Nigerian authorities have warned holders of fake university degrees to stay off the registration of a key national youth service programme aimed at enhancing nation-building and unity.
The call came ahead of the recruitment to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, NYSC Director-General, said holders of bogus degrees would be arrested and prosecuted.
The warning comes after the same scheme ran into trouble last year after thousands of youths, mostly foreign-trained, allegedly applied using fake certificates.
According to NYSC, 20 000 foreign-trained Nigerians uploaded their certificates online. However, during the physical verification exercise, just 3 420 showed up, having been forewarned that anyone caught with fake certificates would be prosecuted.
Ibrahim said NYSC had put the necessary mechanisms in place to curb the enrolment of fake graduates for the orientation course.
“I want to appeal to our youths to do the right thing and not to cut corners in whatever they do in life because there is always reward for hard work,” he added.
NYSC has already held meetings with officials from African universities to curb the issue of fake certificates.
“The NYSC alone cannot do it. We need other stakeholders to assist us,” Ibrahim appealed.
He also advised members of the public not to fall prey to online scammers promising them preferential deployment to NYSC for a fee.
Nigeria created NYSC in 1973 to foster reconciliation, reconstruction and rebuilding after the civil war.
Corps members are posted outside their state of their origin.
Participation enhances the prospects of employment in the civil service.