By Philip Yatai
The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has engaged security agencies, heads of health colleges and registrars of health professional bodies to weed out illegal health institutions in the country.
The Executive Secretary of the board, Prof. Idris Bugaje, said this at a one-day meeting with provosts, proprietors, principals of health institutions and registrars of health professional bodies in Kaduna on Thursday.
Bugaje expressed concern over proliferation of illegal colleges of health sciences and technology, adding that many of such institutions were swindling students and giving them unrecognised certificates.
He described the situation as “worrisome”, where some two-bedroom apartments were converted to colleges of health
technology, offering all kinds of courses.
He warned that anybody who decided to call its programme National Diploma (ND) or Higher National Diploma (HND)
without NBTE registration and accreditation, is creating serious problem for himself.
According to him, NBTE is determined to clean up the system because health is the wealth of any nation.
“This is why we invited all the provosts and proprietors of health colleges, both legal and illegal and professional bodies, to discuss the challenges and develop a common roadmap to address them.
“If it is the registration conditions that are too stringent, let us know so that we can review what can be reviewed without compromising standard.
“We will give a moratorium for every health institution to go and regularise its registration, after which,
we will bring the full ambit of the law and security agencies at our disposal to close the illegal ones.”
The executive secretary said that the NBTE had already reviewed the N100 million Bank Guarantee mandatory requirement for registration to N25 million.
He disclosed that some of the operators of illegal health colleges were currently being investigated by the Department of State Services (DSS) in two states.
He added that the board had also constituted a standing Disciplinary Committee to try members of staff who were colluding with illegal institutions to give them fake accreditation.
“Already, some senior management staff of the NBTE involved have been suspended and as I speak, while some are facing disciplinary committees, we will leave no stone unturned.
“One of you gave one of our staff N2.5 million to facilitate registration. It is illegal and we are investigating the fraud. I learned the staff has refunded the money, but must face the full wrath of the law.”
Also, the NBTE Director, Inspectorate, Hajiya Bilkisu Daku, said registration with the board is crucial in the
establishment of colleges of health technology offering ND or HND in the country.
Daku added that the board partnered with the police, DSS, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission and other anti-graft agencies to curtail the proliferation of illegal institutions.
Responding, Dr Sani Barka, the Chairman, Association of Heads of Health Training Institutions in Nigeria, said the proliferation of illegal health colleges in the country is alarming.
Barka, who is the Provost, Gombe State College of Health Sciences and Technology, Kaltungo, commended the NBTE for taking a step to curb the trend.
Also, Dr Bayo Ojo, the Chairman, Association of Provosts of Colleges of Health Sciences and Technology of Nigeria,
also commended the board for the downward review of the N100 million Bank Guarantee to N25 million.
Ojo described the move to sanitise the operations of colleges of health sciences as a laudable step toward ensuring lawful accreditation and supervision for minimum standard.
Similarly, Mr Yahaya Tsumi, the Director, Special Duties, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, said “what the NBTE is doing is a laudable move to check illegal health institutions.
“As a regulatory institution, we are in full support so that the right thing will be done to produce qualified health professionals.” (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu