(UPDATE) Following an investigation by Sahara Reporters which revealed that Williams Babatunde Fowler, Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) boss is not an holder of an honorary doctorate degree from a shady institution in England known as the “Irish International University”, Mr Fowler has removed the honor from his Wikipedia page and the website of the Lagos state government.
Below is our earlier report.
A report on Sahara Reporters has it that Williams Babatunde Fowler, who was on Thursday appointed by Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, as head of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), holds a dubious honorary doctorate degree in England.
The former boss of the Lagos Inland Revenue Service (LIRS), was said to have bagged the degree from an institution known as the “Irish International University”, an institution which was exposed as a degree mill by the BBC in 2008 as offering bogus and useless honorary degrees.
The presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in his letter to announce Fowler’s appointment, stated that he “had his higher education in the United States where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Business Administration degree from the California State University,” adding also that Fowler holds an “Honorary Doctorate Degree of the Irish International University.”
Does Mr Babatunde Fowler truly possess a dubious honorary doctorate degree?
But, not quite long afterwards, Sahara Reporters quoted a United States-based university professor, Farooq Kperogi, to have written something contrary on Facebook.
“After months of delays, ostensibly to properly vet his appointees, President Buhari just appointed somebody that may turn out to be a total fraud.
“He appointed a certain “Dr.” William Babatunde Fowler as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
“In a news release signed by Femi Adesina, this red flag appears on the man’s qualifications: ‘Fowler, who holds an Honorary Doctorate Degree [sic] of the Irish International University, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria and the Business Management Association of the United Kingdom.’ Well, Irish International University is a fraudulent, non-existent university (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/7175730.stm).
“Second, the Committee of Vice Chancellors in Nigeria has ruled that people with even legitimate honorary doctorates cannot prefix ‘Dr.’ to their names, as is the practice globally (see http://www.farooqkperogi.com/…/finally-some-good-news…). I fear that if this Fowler’s other qualifications are looked into, a big scandal may break out. His bachelor’s degree, for instance, is said to be from the ‘University of Wisconsin’ and his master’s degree from “California State University.”
“The trouble is, University of Wisconsin and California State University are multiple-campus universities; you can’t just say you attended the University of Wisconsin without mentioning the location. The University of Wisconsin has 26 campuses, and California State University has 23 campuses. Something is fishy here!”
Mr. Fowler’s lower degrees, according to Wikipedia listing, appears to grant credibility, where it was stated that he “obtained his first bachelors’ degree with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a minor in Political Science in 1978.”
“It adds that he completed a second bachelors’ degree program at California State University, Los Angeles and also a Master of Business Administration degree program at California State University, Dominguez Hills in 1981.”
In spite of the listing, Fowler’s “Honorary Doctorate Degree” from the Irish International University was not listed by Wikipedia, in its citation.
The reports by the online medium further pointed out that the Irish International University is a fake “university” operated by a United Kingdom aristocrat, Professor Baron Knowth, who serves as the Honorary Chancellor of the Irish International University.
Although tongues are wagging over Asiwaju Bola Ahmed’s purported influence on Fowler’s appoitment, it is yet to be seen if these recent allegations are true.