Requesting Transcripts from Nigerian Universities

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

If you’ve ever attempted to secure academic transcripts from any Nigerian university, or from other institutions of higher learning, you must know how difficult and frustrating it can be. And in fact, such difficult experiences are not limited to schools. Procuring medical records or government documents can also be an uphill task. Although securing documents and transcripts may be easier if you live in Nigeria; attempting to do so from abroad can be annoying, traumatic and time consuming. I am inclined to believe that it is easier to rob a bank than to secure transcripts and other official documents.

Oversea-Nigerians who have attempted to secure school transcripts — without an insider to help — have a tome of woes to tell. A few days ago, a friend called to inquire if I have friends or relatives in Ilorin, Kwara State. He wanted to know because he needed help securing his transcript from the University of Ilorin. This friend of mine who needed the transcript was beginning to “panic” as his prospective employer needed the document — without which his employment prospect would come to naught.

Fortunately, this friend of mine was able to have his transcript sent after his friends and relatives, living in Lagos and elsewhere, interceded on his behalf. Well, Lagos to Ilorin is not exactly a very long distance; but considering the state of public transportation, leaving Lagos for Ilorin for the sole purpose of securing school documents can be worrisome. There is no guarantee that the transcript would be secured in the first, second, fifth or sixth attempt. None!

Aside from the official fee to be paid to the school, facilitators within the school system would also need to be paid or greased. Moreover, friends and relatives who spent their time going back and forth must also be compensated. Transcript (and postage) that ordinarily should cost no more than $50 may end up costing the requester upward of $200. You can’t even quantify the cost of time spent, along with the stress and other incalculable resources. And indeed, there is no guarantee that the requested documents will arrive, or arrive in a timely fashion.

For over a year now, a casual female friend living in the Chicago area has been trying to get hold of her complete transcripts from the University of Ibadan, all to no avail. First, the sending officer — after all the fees and bribe was given — did not fulfill his/her part of the bargain. More money and more time were spent, after which a partial transcript was sent. Let’s just say she is till waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Lottery-Greencard in hand; but she is unable to attend graduate school. Such is the frustration of obtaining official documents from Nigerian institutions of higher learning.

One of the unintended consequences of these difficulties is that some Nigerians have taken to forging documents. Forging documents is a crime; but it is even more criminal and malicious when an institution refuses to, or intentionally delay sending supporting documents to enable one achieve ones goal.

Procuring official school documents shouldn’t be that difficult. It shouldn’t be. If schools want to increase the fee for such services, well then, they should go ahead. But for goodness sake, they should fulfill their obligation to their former students.

I wonder how many Nigerians have failed to secure employment or graduate school admission all because Nigerian schools and other institutions failed to send complete and correct transcript in a timely manner.

How many dreams have been cut short by the actions and inaction of these wayward institutions or officers within those institutions? One may never know the answer.

What is clear is that there are a lot of Nigerians in the US and other western countries are seething with anger as a result of the current system.

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Alfred June 28, 2018 - 5:00 pm

But the question is? why do we have to pay to collect our transcript? Isn’t it supposed to be the result of our academic hassle for years? We paid our fees in full from level to level untill graduation and they’ll be making us feel as if they are doing us a favor by preparing our transcripts that we are supposed to collect on the graduation day. We need to make this information go viral because this rubbish, the extortion, this robbery must end now. Let them stop frustrating us. Is it their result? Did we go to school for free? Enough is enough!!!

tweety November 21, 2008 - 8:00 pm

good talk broda! rite now im still processing mine and time is running out as i want to start a postgraduate in january. those guys at the registry work at snails pace and are INCOMPETENT!to make matters worse,wen they know u are applying for a foreign university they use all the tricks to squeze out every kobo from u! on second tot,u need to see were there keep student files;the dirt,dust and mouldy environment can make one have a serious asthma attack.

its sad,really sad,but God save NIGERIA!!!

redrose January 20, 2007 - 11:11 pm

My brother i think my story is the worst. I have been trying to get mine now for over 5 years but still no transcript. I have been bribing and calling and nothing is workin. There is no English word to describe how I feel, no word at all! Its a pity

Abdulmumin January 20, 2007 - 2:28 pm

This is a very important essay as it addresses one the main problems facing graduates from Nigerian universities, especially thoses graduates now in the diaspora. This is a very pathetic and deplorable situation. We hope this message would get to the right ears.

Fresh Ogunlowo January 20, 2007 - 6:04 am

This very much true because I am in the situation at the moment but God will do the best.

SMJ January 14, 2007 - 10:27 pm

Well said. Before I came to the USA, someone had told me to get me transcript before my departure.

My brother did not do that before he left Nigeria, he finished from University of Ibadan. During my last visit to Nigeria, he asked me to help him get the transcript. It was a hell for me. I was unable to get it personally, my junior sister helped us out three months after I left Nigeria.

At the university of Ibadan, the registrar office was full of junk, old students file gathering soil and moisture. No single computer was available, the small office was crowded with staff and barely can four people can stand in that single office. It was a bad experience for me.

What made my case worse was that they knew I am from America. They are afraid to ask for bribe (Because they do not know who I am) so they send me to the Department (Mechanical Engineering) which was my brother department when he was there. No roads leads to the department, the only one was a rocky untared road with gullies. I had to park somewhere and trek.

At the department, I can not hide my identity. So, I got into trouble. They said they cannot find the file because my brother graduated in 1989 and I have to see the head of department who will help us locater the file. That day nothing happened.

Next, day the head of department was nowhere to be found. It took me another week before any good thing happen. The following week, I make them happy and the file surface the next day. The said they need to type it and there is no light (NEPA). So, I had to come next day. Next day, there is no typist…we have to go and type at Agbowo and comeback into the campus. After typing the transcript, head of department have to sign again…and that took another 3 days. My days to come to America is approaching fast and I was very sad.

After 3 days, the transcript was send to the registrar office and I suppose to get it that they…but they also played their wayo again. The registrar is not on seat, we have to mail/forward it to the institution, go and pay N3000 for transcript etc.

I lost my temper and walked out. I am sorry for that University. No student database to retrieve student record and transcript with computer in this century. It is a shame. Here in America, you get transcript on the spot.

Poor University of Ibadan




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