A thesis―what abounding Nigerians accredit to as a ‘project’—is authentic as “a argument on a authentic accountable in which one has done aboriginal research, as one presented by a applicant for a authority or degree”. “Original research”, or sometimes “personal research”, is a byword that comes up behindhand of what concordance is consulted. Yet, it is a accepted convenance for acceptance to canyon off the exact opposite. They admission theses one way or another, change the author’s names and added details, and abide as theirs. Worse still, such acceptance are about aided by university librarians active to aegis these documents.
Between Monday, June 11, 2018, and Tuesday, June 26, 2018, the ICIR’s ‘KUNLE ADEBAJO paid visits to 41 adroitness and authoritative libraries in four arresting federal universities in Nigeria and airish as one absorbed in affairs or accompanying a apriorism for a acquaintance in his final-year. The universities were Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria; Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife; University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka; and University of Abuja (UniAbuja), Gwagwalada. He shares his allegation in this two-part report.
AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY: IT IS NOT ALLOWED BUT…
ADJACENT the axial library at the Ahmadu Bello University’s Kongo campus—known as President Kennedy Library—is the Law Library. It is a arresting two-storey structure, admirable in a ablaze acrylic of bare beige. Behind a large, board table at the accession breadth was Ibrahim, who articular himself as the librarian and a “lawyer also”.
The ICIR anchorman explained his mission to him: to get about three capacity for his friend, a law apprentice at Ambrose Alli University, and to appear aback for the apriorism as anon as his administrator approves one of those topics.
“Number one, the affair is that it is not accustomed to archetype projects,” said Ibrahim, abrogation the anchorman to admiration what cardinal two would be. “There is what we alarm copyright. If you archetype somebody’s work, you apperceive you are converting all his assignment to yours.”
“But, yet I may advice you,” he added. “I will aggregate your cardinal and get some capacity for you. I will argument you some of the capacity for you to select. For any of them that is approved, I affiance you I will get the absolute for you complete. You accept ba? I will argument at atomic ten, so that he can baddest three and advanced that added bodies may additionally select.”
He gave his MTN buzz cardinal and promised to accelerate the capacity the afterward day. His abandoned above-mentioned claim was that the anchorman gives him money to recharge his adaptable account. Aback he was handed a N500 note, he beneath and appropriate it is doubled.
“I will argument all the affair for you. I will see wonder, wallahi,” he maintained. “Anyone they approve, there is no problem. If you appetite complete work, whether adamantine or bendable copy, I will get for you. There is no problem.”
True to his words, the afterward day, this anchorman accustomed a alternation of texts from Ibrahim, absolute up to eight action topics: 1. An Appraisal on the Activities of Boko Haram Sect in the Ablaze of Freedom of Religion, 2. Legal and Institutional Arbitration beneath International Law: A Case Study of Nigeria, 3. An Analysis of the Theories of Implementation of Treaties beneath the Abuja Geographic Information System, …, 8. Challenges on the Prosecution of Serving Heads of States by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He additionally alleged to affirm receipt. Afresh on June 18, 2018, he alleged to emphasise that my acquaintance should allotment the capacity with his colleagues, with anniversary being demography about three, “so that the absolute capacity will not be in vain”. Asked how abundant it will bulk to buy the materials, he replied that it depends on the capacity chosen, because some of the abstracts accept added than 100 pages. The anchorman has absent abundant calls from Ibrahim aback that conversation.
N3000: THE PRICE OF ANOTHER’S HARD WORK
In allegation of the Library of the Administration of Public Administration is a admirer who, in writing, articular himself artlessly as Bayero. As this anchorman alien his plan, he bound interjected with the chat “alright”, afresh thrice, to announce he understands. He accustomed admission to the apriorism catalogue, area the anchorman affected capacity of 2011 submissions by Mohammed Murtala, Mohemmed Musa, and Musa Garba Hadija.
Asked how abundant it would bulk to buy the affidavit already a affair is approved, he bound signaled the reporter to accumulate mum, as his eyes darted beyond the room, area a library user sat. Stuttering, he asked aback the anchorman would acknowledgment for the document, as he signalled for autograph materials. He afterwards bound bottomward 3000 and, aloft request, his name and buzz number.
CHIEF LIBRARIANS ARE NOT LEFT OUT
The library of the Administration of Accounting was bare at the time of visit. Moses Shatusen, the Chief Librarian, who was about to arch out, was about available. “I apperceive it is action you appetite to collect… appear aback tomorrow,” he said, as he questioned why the anchorman was advancing “at the backward hours”. Notably, the time was 2:50pm.
After he was told the anchorman accustomed from and is abiding to Abuja that day, he eventually budged. He afresh requested for a apprentice ID card, which the anchorman did not provide. This led to addition annular of pleading. He has, in fact, instructed his agents not to accord out any abstracts afterwards identification, he informed.
From the archive which he eventually handed over, the anchorman affected capacity of theses submitted by Muhammad Sani Ashiru and Ibrahim Shaffi Bello in 2014, and Comfort Amos Jatau in 2010. Shatusen added gave his buzz number, accepted that the abstracts are accessible for collection, and cautiously said it is larboard to the reporter’s acumen whether or not he comes with a gift.
NO DIFFERENCE AT THE ABU SAMARA CAMPUS
One of the abundant departments at the university’s capital campus is Biochemistry, with its library anchored on the top attic of the authoritative building. At the time of visit, a acceptable admeasurement of action was advancing and two librarians were built-in adverse the entrance. This anchorman approached the macho librarian and tabled his appeal for a thesis.
He handed over the library catalogue, but acceptable the artful of abandoned bristles capacity from contempo years because, according to him, “if we accord more, that is how they will alpha distributing and they will alpha advancing to disturb”. He additionally recommended that the reporter’s acquaintance who bare the apriorism acknowledgment abandoned for the absolute already a affair is approved.
Also on the capital campus is the Administration of Mass Communication, whose library is called afterwards Ben Uchegbu. The librarian, afterwards a abrupt introduction, accustomed absolute admission to the shelves and did not bother accouterment a catalogue. There, the anchorman took addendum of theses submitted in 2016 by Areh Osigbodi Simeon, Salihu Samira, and Atinuke A. Keku.
Afterwards, he instructed the anchorman to agenda the consecutive numbers taped to the theses. Asked what the bulk of accepting the apriorism would be, the librarian said that will be bent at the added visit. While afterwards giving his contact, he articular himself artlessly as ‘Pastor’. TruCaller, a adaptable addition identification app, about gave his name as “Pastor Olorungbami”.
A FEW GOOD EGGS
While majority of the librarians visited by the ICIR, decidedly those afterwards aggregation at the time, yielded calmly to the actionable request, there are a cardinal of exceptions. One of them is Abubakar Aliyu, who is librarian at the university’s Arabic Department.
He started by requesting for the reporter’s identification agenda and appropriate accepting accessible capacity for a apriorism does not necessarily allegation the consulting of antecedent publications. He showed the anchorman two samples from the shelves and accustomed capacity to be affected from the catalogue. However, aback the anchorman a him he would be abiding to alike afterwards a affair is acclimatized for, he anon replied that it is not allowed.
“We don’t acquiesce bodies to archetype theses, unless if you appear and jot what you want,” he said.
This anchorman had a added awkward appointment at the library of the university’s History Department, which faces that of the English Department. Afterwards introducing the purpose of his visit, the middle-aged librarian donning a ablaze brown-coloured hijab did not attack to adumbrate her scorn.
“You appetite to get capacity so that you will go and accord your administrator and he will accept and you will appear and accomplish photocopy… We don’t do that,” she said.
“Are you no best accepting the topics?” she asked as the anchorman fabricated to leave, afresh anon added with a wry grin: “Oh, there’s no need? Okay.”
Likewise, at the Administration of Economics, the ICIR’s appeal to get a apriorism met a brick wall. In the ailing lit allowance was a middle-aged man and woman, who afterwards gave her name as Kafewo and a the anchorman she hails from the Basange association in Kogi state.
“We don’t accord out our undergraduate materials,” Kafewo said, politely. “We don’t accord out projects generally.”
Asked whether the abstracts can be bifold if not accustomed to be borrowed, the macho librarian replied that would be piracy.
“Definitely you can’t do your assignment afterwards authoritative advertence to addition person’s work,” he added. “The aspect of analysis is you do your own analysis and afresh somebody will body on it. But some, instead of architecture on it, they will aloof do archetype and paste, and change abandoned the appellation page. You accept done nothing. It is plagiarism.”
He said abounding departments, including Economics, accept started accepting anti-plagiarism software and requesting that acceptance abide bendable copies of their works. He anecdotal a adventure of how a apprentice of the university had his affidavit withdrawn, afterwards years of graduation, afterward a complaint lodged by the columnist of a apriorism which he plagiarised. He added said, in the past, acceptance of the administration accept had to absorb an added year because they plagiarised their thesis.
“But the acceptance feel they are acute and they can do it this way,” he said. “The accuracy is you are not allowance the apprentice if you do it that way. You will anticipate you are, but by the time it backfires you will realise you are not. It is bigger for him to do the appropriate thing.”
The anchorman faced agnate attrition at the Adroitness of Education library. The Chief Librarian requested that the reporter’s acquaintance appear with an anterior letter from his academy as a claim for collection. However, aback he thereafter instructed the inferior library artisan to admission admission to the library catalogue, this anchorman apparent not all the theses are available.
“These are the topics, but don’t address this and this, we don’t accept this one,” the library artisan said, pointing to capacity of theses submitted in 1988. “You can alpha with this one from 1994.”
* * * * *
UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA: ‘N500 FINE’―FROM ONE LAWBREAKER TO ANOTHER
When this anchorman was told by Chioma Ozioko, the librarian of the UNN Mass Communication Department, that there are processes that allegation be followed to accretion admission to library materials, he accepted an apprenticeship to accommodate an ID agenda or letter of introduction. But what he heard afterwards abashed him.
“You allegation pay a accomplished of N500,” said Ozioko, with a beeline face as she feasted accidentally on a cucumber deeply anchored in her appropriate grip, while occasionally acknowledging it with groundnut.
She added: “Whether or not you see annihilation advantageous to you, that N500 is gone. Now for the material, if you eventually see any of affair of your best and you appetite to go and photocopy, it is N1000. So, that is the process. It’s up to you.”
Asked if there is a catalogue, she replied in the negative, acceptance the abstracts are not able-bodied arranged. Her words: “We don’t accept a catalogue; aggregate is upside down… there is no specific abode for specific subjects.” The anchorman afresh paid the “fine” of N500 and proceeded to the shelves to archetype capacity of 2012 submissions by Ajibade Aderonke Olubukola; Eke Joseph, Enemanna Chinakasi and Eze Uchechukwu J; and Ezuwu Patrick, Ezerim Adaobi and Iweha Chioma.
When he was done, Ozioko directed him to area added contempo capacity are, and afresh he affected two added (2017 theses by Ike Chidera Daisy and Aningo Genevieve Ezinne). She added appropriate “another way of authoritative it easy”. “Select those books and put them aside, because you may appear aing time and you will not see them again. But it depends on how soon.” To abstain the added work, the anchorman promised to acknowledgment in one or two weeks.
THE SMOKE SCREEN OF REGISTRATION
At the aboriginal attic of the Adroitness of Social Sciences architecture is the library of Administration of Religion, and abandoned in the close allowance at the time the ICIR visited was Tony Martins, a affable adolescent man who accepted to be the librarian. In advanced of him was a laptop aing a beefy apriorism that had been addled open.
“Okay,” he said, afterwards this anchorman tabled his demand. “But the affair is that you accept to register.” This anchorman told him he is not a student, but it doesn’t bulk he replied.
He continued: “Normally, if you are a student, it would accept been N500. But advancing from outside, it is N1000.”
He brought out a anthology with a account of names and added capacity such as class number, department, anteroom of residence, amount, date, and signature. As he drew the table on a beginning page, he hesitated, allegedly borderline whether to omit or accommodate some of the headings. He eventually absitively to address them all so as not to accession suspicion, but said the anchorman could leave out class number.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry,” he said. “Just address N1000 here… Do you accept the money now?”
Martins gave out eight catalogues, including the Old Testament Authority Catalogue, New Testament Authority Catalogue, Old Testament Degree Catalogue, New Testament Degree Catalogue, Religion and Society Degree Catalogue, Church History Authority Catalogue, African Traditional Religion Authority Catalogue, and African Traditional Religion Degree Catalogue. They independent abandoned serially numbers and apriorism topics.
After this anchorman about affected one affair from six of the catalogues, he a Martins his acquaintance would be abiding to alike the apriorism eventually called by his supervisor.
“Of course, no problem,” he replied. “Even if the ones you accept there [in the catalogues] are not current, there are added accepted ones that are actuality and the capacity are similar.”
“Anytime he comes around, whoever he meets here, he should aloof acquaint him he has registered. Let him acquaint the being that is actuality that addition registered on his behalf. Aloof accord him the name. I don’t accept any agenda that I can absolutely affair to you now.”
LIBRARY PERMIT FOR A NON-STUDENT?
Unlike Martins at the Administration of Religion, the librarians in allegation of the UNN Institute of Education―a adolescent man and middle-aged woman―had no botheration arising an absolute library admittance to this anchorman afterwards he paid a “required” sum of N500. He was told he could appear at any time to affix a authorization photograph.
When the anchorman told the macho librarian, who was bushing the register, that he is not a apprentice of the university, he said it was not a botheration and proceeded to address the administration and class cardinal provided by the reporter―though the agenda issued eventually says it is a “library admittance for student”.
Asked if the anchorman could appear aback for the thesis, the macho librarian said that it is accomplished aback “you are now registered with us”. Added asked if the apriorism could be duplicated, he chuckled and said acceptance are not accustomed to go out with the materials. He, however, added: “but you can use your buzz to booty pictures of all what you need”.
N300…SORRY, I MEANT N500
When this anchorman accustomed at the Administration of Sociology and Anthropology’s library and empiric a army of acceptance pawing at bookish resources, he had accepted to be angry back. The adolescent macho librarian who aboriginal abounding to him was not alone. Closely by his larboard was a changeable apprentice who fabricated it accessible she was alert in on the conversation. He, however, directed the anchorman to an aged woman whose table was afterpiece to the entrance.
“First of all, you will annals with N300,” said the woman, as both parties conversed in hushed tones.
“Oh, it is alike N500,” she chuckled a minute later, application her basis feel to trace antecedent about accounting banking annal which ranged from N300 to N500.
With the barter of banknote taken affliction of, the anchorman was accustomed to archetype capacity and he acclaimed theses submitted by Ekpo Emmanuel Ekpo and Ewa Emmanuel Ajayi in 2016, Odo Chekwube Angella in 2015, and Ubani Precious Ezinne in 2011. Afterwards, she assured the anchorman he could consistently acknowledgment to alike the abstracts needed. All he had to do, she said, was accord her above-mentioned apprehension through a buzz call, and acquaint anyone he meets he is allurement for the librarian. She explained she is not consistently about as she has a abstracted appointment on the aboriginal floor.
OF LOCKED LIBRARIES AND LOST LIBRARIANS
A cardinal of UNN libraries visited by the ICIR were beneath lock and key, admitting the university was in affair and division examinations are abandoned weeks away. One of such libraries was that of the Political Science Department. Twice on June 22—first at 9:51am and afresh afresh at 10:54am―this anchorman arrested but the library remained bound and the librarian boilerplate to be found. A apprentice who batten to the ICIR said trading apriorism is not an abnormal convenance amid librarians in the department.
Previous day at 2:41pm, the library of Soil Science and Land Assets Management, with the tag “Dr Mrs Uzoh” on its door, was additionally not open. The aforementioned ascertainment was fabricated with account to the Food Science and Technology department; however, the anchorman was a the librarian was invigilating at the time of visit.
The library of the Adroitness of Pharmacy, which has aloof been relocated to an alarming four-storey structure, was additionally inaccessible. The library is placed on the larboard addition of the top floor. “I don’t anticipate they are at work,” said a changeable apprentice dressed in tee-shirt and jeans, as her abundant acquaintance who captivated an appointment book banged the door. The time was 1:07pm.
GO TO SSRN IF YOU NEED TOPICS
The bearings at the University of Nigeria was not all doom and anguish as there were librarians who did not jump at the bent befalling of authoritative added cash. One who stands out is the librarian―a woman actualization to be in her mid or backward thirties—stationed at the Administration of Crop Science. For bristles seconds, she kept bashful afterwards the anchorman fabricated his appeal for topics. Afresh she fabricated a different suggestion.
“Why doesn’t he attending for a topic?” she asks. “Look for a affair now.”
“Okay, I’ll accord you a topic,” she connected afterwards a few questions. “I’ll accord you something. I’ll accord you area you can go to get a topic. Address SSRN. SSRN website. Google it; afresh you can anatomy topics. Acquaint the apprentice to accept any affair from there. If it is on pineapple or cassava he wants to write, he will acquisition it there. And from there, he can get a lot of papers. He can additionally go to your academy library for added materials.”
“You won’t say acknowledge you?” she asked sarcastically, as the anchorman bankrupt his anthology in apish disappointment.
Likewise, at the Administration of Foreign Languages’ library—located a attic beneath that of Mass Communication at the Adroitness of Arts―the librarian requested for a apprentice ID. In the absence of that, she said, the reporter’s acquaintance has to present “a letter from somebody who can analyze him from the university”.
PS: Some of the names accounting in this address were extracted from buzz numbers provided through the use of TruCaller, a adaptable addition identification app. It is, therefore, awful apparent not all are absolutely accurate.
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