The Management of the University of Maiduguri has reacted to the controversy over a phantom award of World Champion in Physics Competition awarded to one its lecturers, Dr. Yakubu Nura, by a certain International Agency for Standards and Ratings (IASR), noting that while the news of the award should ordinarily be a thing of pride, the controversy surrounding it has brought down the name of the institution.
The University which reacted to the development in a statement by Prof Danjuma Gambo, Director, Radio and Public Relations on Monday, said it has not received any information from either Dr. Nura or the awarding organisation.
“Our attention has been drawn to reports and commentaries on some national and social media platforms that, one Dr. Yakubu Nura, a lecturer in the Department of Physics of our great university has “won the World Physics Competition by defeating about 5,720 contenders from 97 countries.” That “his research article was adjudged the best, after being screened for the World Championship 2019, by an organisation called International Agency for Standard and Ratings, to identify brilliant scientists and academics around the world.” According to the media, “this feat earned him distinction of becoming the father of modern Einstein’s planetary Equation Studies in Physics,”‘ the statement read.
“Ordinarily, such a development at the level of an individual member of staff would have been favourably received by the University Management, in view of the huge investment that it has been making in research and publication. However, instead of positively enhancing the reputation of Dr. Nura and our university, the reported award has now become subject of controversy, capable of dragging the good name of our great institution into ridicule and disrepute.
“For the avoidance of doubt, neither Dr. Nura nor the organisation that reportedly gave him the said award, has officially contacted the University Management with credible information on the matter. However, the University will do the needful, whenever it receives official verifiable information from acceptable sources, in order to put the matter into proper perspective. Therefore, the media and members of the general public are advised to react with utmost caution to the widespread reports and commentaries currently in circulation.
“Meanwhile, Dr. Nura is expected to approach the University with relevant facts available to on the matter, for further action.”
The said organisation had, few days ago, announced in a publication made via a Google hosted website, that, “World Champion Dr. Yakubu Nura is most important asset for Nigeria, recognized by International Agency for Standards and Ratings. World Champion Dr. Yakubu Nura is now recognized as Father of modern EINSTEIN’S PLANETARY EQUATION studies in Physics.
The purpose of the award, the report said, “is to identify brilliant scientists and academicians around the world through World Championship. The World Championship is organized by International Agency for Standards and Ratings at international level Dr. Yakubu Nura, (World Champion and Fellow, Directorate of Physics, IASR) plays a vital role in advancement of scientific knowledge in Physics (EINSTEIN’S PLANETARY EQUATION).
“World Championship-2019 in Physics (EINSTEIN’S PLANETARY EQUATION) acknowledges the outstanding international contributions and is selected based on international meritorious competition. IASR extends best wishes for your endeavours enlightening scientific domain with your efforts. Your research article is winner among 5721 nominations from 97 countries, screened for the World Championship-2019 in Physics (EINSTEIN’S PLANETARY EQUATION). IASR recognizes Dr. Yakubu Nura among World’s 500 Most Influential Experts in Physics for the Year 2019 on Earth.”
The announcement which went viral on the social media, was celebrated by the likes of Senator Shehu Sani, former Kaduna Central senator, who called on Northern governors to emulate Nura, and media professional, Kadara Ahmed.
But the celebration soon turned sour when Nigerian born, US based associate professor of journalism, Dr. Farooq Kperogi blew the lid on the organisation, disclosing that it was only scamming Nigerian academics with phantom awards.
“The truth is that Dr. Nura is the willing victim of a scam, a kind of scam I call scams of ego, which prey on the status anxieties and low self-esteem of insecure, fraud-prone people,” Kperogi wrote.
“World Championship, the ‘organisation’ that conferred the ‘award’ on Dr. Nura, is a well-known scam operation that does not, for strategically fraudulent reasons, have a site with its own domain name. It uses a free sites.google.com account to perpetrate its scams.
“Anyone who pays a fee can get any—I mean any—award from the site. Check the site to see the list of ‘award winners’ it features in every imaginable field. You will find many Nigerians there,” he wrote.
“For instance, one Dr. Kaywood Leizou of the Niger Delta University (NDU) got the Guardian to write a story about his ‘award’ from this same fraudulent site on Oct 19, 2018. Titled ‘Bayelsa don wins global chemical sciences contest’.
“In 2018, the same website ‘conferred’ one Dr. Shuaib Idris Mohammed of Edo State with the ‘World Champion in Agricultural Extension (Credit Facilities)’ award ‘out of 91 countries.’
“The site added, ‘Dr. Shuaib Idris Mohammed is now recognised as Father of Modern Credit Facilities in Agricultural Extension. The purpose of the award is to identify brilliant scientists and academicians around the world through World Championship. The World Championship is organised by International Agency for Standards and Ratings at international level.” (Read about him here: https://t.co/IhsKT0EMKh). Sounds familiar?
“That’s the exact language used for Dr. Nura. The same suspiciously atrocious grammar. The ‘contenders’ for the ‘awards’ are always in the thousands—and from more than 90 countries in the world.
“But nothing in Nura’s scholarly record—and those of others who have been made ‘fathers’ of whole disciplinary specialties by the fraudulent site—suggests that he is anywhere close to the pinnacle of his career.
“The saddest thing about this fraud, for me, is that news organisations like the NTA, Voice of Nigeria, Sahara Reporters, and even well-known people like @ShehuSani and @KadariaAhmed fell for it. It’s an easily detectable scam, in my opinion. Nigerians have to be the world’s greatest suckers for cheap scams!” he regretted.
The organization which has no website and no known promoters had last year, awarded Dr. Leizou “the 2018 World Chemical Sciences (Metal Speciation in Sediment) Championship,” which was reported at the time by the Guardian Newspaper.
The Guardian report had said that, “The Bayelsa-born don beat 5,845 others from 89 countries whose nominations were screened for this year’s edition.
“Consequently, the International Agency for Standards and Ratings (IASR) has recognised Leizou as one the world’s 500 most influential experts on earth in chemical sciences for the year.”
Amid the controversy, Business Hallmark checked on the said IASR but the checks did not yield any convincing results. the organisation has no website and no known promoters.