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High wave of certificate racketeering in Benin Republic

A high rate of university certificate racketeering in Benin Republic has been uncovered in Nigeria. It is a booming business. Under cover, Nigerian journalist, *Umar Audu* of 'Daily Nigeria' reports after investigation: 

Audu bagged a Cotonou varsity degree in six weeks and successfully participated in the Nigeria's National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.

In December 2022, the reporter reached out to a racketeering syndicate that specialises in selling the infamous degree certificates from the neighboring countries to willing buyers at an ‘affordable rate’.

The agent however told the reporter the option of “studying” for a year or month, but he opted for the month option.

“That’s not a problem; we can help. If the money is ready, we can help you out. We have done it for a lot of people. If you make the payment now, the results will be ready next month,” he assured.

The choice of mass communication from any “university” in Cotonou was premised on the fact he could easily scale through the screening as he had knowledge of the course.

The agent gave the reporter the breakdown of the amount to pay, which included tuition fees, an evaluation letter, a resident permit, immigration stamps at the border post and transportation.

On December 27, 2022, the reporter made the payment and was issued a payment receipt.

True to the agent’s words, the certificate and transcript of Ecole Superieure de Gestion et de Technologies, ESGT, Cotonou, Benin Republic, were delivered to his office on February 17, 2023.

The transcript indicated that this reporter commenced the institution in 2018 and graduated on September 5, 2022.

Unfortunately, there was a slight mistake on the transcript, so it had to be transported back to Cotonou for correction, and one month later, the corrected version was received on March 29.

Prior to that, the reporter was never issued an admission letter or knew about the school the agent was processing for him.

All the agenct said was, “don’t worry, everything will be sorted out.”

Like miracle, our reporter “finished” the four-year degree programme in less than two months without application, registration, studying, writing exams or crossing Nigerian


But despite having the certificate and transcript in his possession, the reporter had fears they could be fake, until he discovered a scan code placed on the left bottom of the transcript. And when the reporter scanned through, it directed him to the website of ESGT University, indicating that he is a genuine product of the institution.

On its website, ESGT, established in 2009, said, “It is an institution built upon a vision that enables individuals from a mix of different nationalities and cultures to get the best in undergraduate and postgraduate international education.”.

The institution is fully accredited by both the governments of the Benin Republic and Nigeria. It offers over 30 courses in management sciences, social sciences, applied and natural sciences as well as technology.

It was gathered that the racketeering agents in Nigeria work hand-in-hand with the top management of the university campus in Cotonou, whose registrar and English section coordinator are Nigerians.

After payment of additional money through the agent, the evaluation letter was eventually released. The letter is a mandatory requirement for NYSC mobilisation.

In separate letters dated May 25 and 26, addressed to the director general of the National Youth Service Scheme, NYSC, the Federal Ministry of Education confirmed that the ESGT is on the ministry’s list of accredited institutions.

The letter, which was signed on behalf of the minister by the deputy director of Evaluation and Accreditation, Koli Salihu-Mongodiba, also cleared 51 ESGT graduates to participate in the NYSC, “having met all the requirements set by the ministry”.

“The institution is on the ministry’s list of accredited institutions in Benin, and the bachelor degrees awarded to the students as indicated on the attached list are equivalent to bachelor degrees awarded by any Nigerian university in a similar field of study,” the letter read in part.

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