A member of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Benedicta Daudu, is currently embroiled in allegation that she cheated in an examination at the University of Jos (UNIJOS), on May 4, 2016, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report today.
The Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, headed by prominent law professor and civil rights campaigner, Itse Sagay, and made up of mainly university professors, is the intellectual wing of Mr Buhari’s anti-corruption war.
The mandate of the committee includes advising the President on the implementation of required reforms in Nigeria’s anti-corruption campaign and criminal justice system.
Mrs Daudu, an associate professor of law and head of the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law of the Faculty of Law in UNIJOS, was allegedly caught cheating while writing an examination for a Master’s degree in Research and Public Policy in the Faculty of Social Sciences of the same university.
Although she has a Masters in Law, the associate professor had been working towards another masters in Research and Public Policy.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the department later accused her of sneaking in prepared answers, also referred to as “chokes” by students, during the examination for the Global Context in Public Policy course.
Sources said the matter was subsequently reported to the university’s examination committee but some students and faculty claimed there were attempts at cover ups by the university authorities.
But the Dean, Faculty of Social Science of the University, Prof. Ezekiel Best, said it was not true that authorities were trying to cover up the matter.
“I was not even around when the incident happened,” Mr. Best told PREMIUM TIMES. “So I don’t have all the details at this time. But there is nothing like that that we are doing nothing about it.”
The Coordinator of the Research and Public Policy programme, Prof. Bonaventure Haruna, however, said he reported the matter to Dean Best.
“I report to the Dean,” he said. “I don’t report to any other person. So call the Dean of Social Science and ask him. He takes the next action.”
When Prof Best was confronted with Prof. Haruna’s claim, he simply said, “Whatever Prof. Haruna said is correct. He is the head of department.”
When contacted for comments, the affected professor, Mrs Daudu, repeatedly hung up the phone after questions on the incident was posed to her. She declined to answer subsequent calls made to her mobile phone. She also did not respond to a text message sent to her.
The public relations officer of the university, Abdullahi Abdullahi, said the matter had not been officially brought to the attention of the school’s management.
“I tried to confirm whether there was anything like that, really I couldn’t get any confirmation. It has not been brought to the attention of management. So right now I wouldn’t know,” he said.
“Although the university has internal processes that deals with these issues, even if there was anything like that, which I doubt much, it would have to go through the normal internal processes from the department to the faculty and then to the exam misconduct committee. It is at that stage it would be brought to the appropriate authority for sanction.”
Similarly, the Vice Chancellor of UNIJOS, Hayward Mafuyai, told this newspaper via a text message that he was yet to receive any report on the incident.
The Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Bolaji Owasanoye, initially said the committee was unaware of the incident, and asked for time for him to make an inquiry.
Later, Prof. Owasanoye reverted to say Mrs. Daudu confirmed to him there was a pending allegation of examination malpractice against her but that she was working to establish her innocence.
He said he would inform members of the committee of the development immediately.