Months of investigations into the academic publications, including his Doctor of Philosophy dissertation at the University of Ibadan, show that UNILORINAcademic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) chair Associate Prof.Usman Adebimpe Raheem has questions bordering on plagiarism to answer, reports Associate Editor ADEKUNLE YUSUF
Within the precincts of University of Ilorin campus in Kwara State and far beyond, Associate Prof. Usman Adebimpe Raheem easily comes across as one public figure that is highly coveted by the high and mighty. And the reasons for this are quite obvious. Besides his sacred teaching responsibilities and headship of Department of Geography and Environmental Management in UNILORIN, he is the Chairman of the management-backed faction of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the institution – making him one of the prime movers and shakers in the school’s power orbits.
Anyone in doubt of how pervasively involved Dr. Raheem is in the affairs of UNILORIN only needs to take a trip to the peaceful campus. Whenever the school is in session, especially anytime the popular union leader is around to preside over his colleagues’ affairs, the sprawling edifice housing ASUU secretariat in the university is always a beehive of activities – a Mecca of sorts for lecturers and students, including hordes of non-teaching staff members and others who come from far and near to seek his attention on a myriad of issues. However, as UNILORIN ASUU chairman basks in the limelight and wields enormous influence that his status and office entail, not many among his numerous admirers and colleagues alike know that he is “a rampant academic robber” and “a disgrace to the academia.”
Quite unexpectedly, multiple plagiarism checks run on Dr. Raheem’s several published works returned a guilty verdict in a magnitude and mode rare to find in the ivory tower of academia, thus unmasking him as a serial intellectual fraudster. Curiously, all this took place in the sanctuary of the same UNILORIN, which blazed the trail in 2016 when it announced that it had led six other schools to develop home-grown anti-plagiarism software for fighting academic fraud in the country. Yet, for a man who started as Assistant Lecturer in 1997 and rose to his new rank, the multiple plagiaristic escapades went on undetected for many years.
However, as fate would have it, Dr. Raheem’s journey to comeuppance seemed to have been paved with a heavy tinge of irony. His rampant academic fraud, which had all along beaten his university’s academic integrity arm, unexpectedly came to light through an equally cavalier graduate student in another public university thousands of miles away from UNILORIN. Having assumed – wrongly though – that plagiarism was no sin in academic circuits, the student had used a few paragraphs from Dr. Raheem’s works in his ongoing Master’s degree thesis without acknowledgment, which instantly drew the ire of his eagle-eyed supervisor. All hell broke loose during a grilling session that followed. Claiming ignorance of the fact that verbatim copying without proper attribution is unethical, the graduate student insisted that many of the copied segments his supervisor complained about were actually taken from earlier articles, which Dr. Raheem himself also used elaborately but did not bother to reference. Ostensibly smelling a rat, an alarmed supervisor decided to dig deeper into his student’s claims, preferring to take a bird’s-eye view of all the published works his supervisee had copied from. Interestingly, what popped up was unbelievable, leading to the unearthing of unpalatable discoveries, which the findings of academic integrity experts that investigated the scam said may portray UNILORIN as a safe “haven for plagiarists or for persons without integrity.”
Inside Dr. Raheem’s world of plagiarism
When The Nation got wind of the situation over four months ago, a detailed search was quickly launched into Dr. Raheem’s published works, specifically those listed on his profile on UNILORIN website and thus accessible online. To make doubly sure, senior academics were also enlisted to separate the wheat from the chaff. Surprisingly, it was an incriminating verdict all the way. Besides the findings of academic integrity experts, investigations by this newspaper into the offending works also further confirmed the trajectory of an academic career that began on a promising note but lost focus almost immediately it took off, leaving the Head of Department of Geography and Environmental Management with a credential that is sadly brimming with outright fraud and egregious academic dishonesty unbecoming of a don.
Findings reported, among other things, that “Dr. Raheem’s publications are generally filled with massive word-for-word copying, duplication, data fraud and so on,” describing him as “a disgrace to the academia” and “certainly a bad example for up-and-coming academics.” When viewed together, all his publishing outputs available online, especially since 2009, were subjected to plagiarism checks, with the findings in all the works generally portraying him as a scholar whose entire career is soaked in academic fraud of the worst rankings. To avoid buck-passing, special attention was given to publications where he is the sole or lead author, though other works he authored in conjunction with others were examined. While it is disheartening that UNILORIN ASUU Chairman has enjoyed promotions on the strength of undetected academic theft, senior academics found it curious that all the serious acts of plagiarism and unethical academic conducts of a man perceived as an administration crony were not discovered in the “better by far” university until the bubble eventually burst.
Outright duplications, self-plagiarism
Just like a miasma of stale alcohol hung around a no-good drunkard, regular duplication of articles is one sad feature that manifested ceaselessly in Dr. Raheem’s body of work, casting a huge blot on the escutcheon of the system that makes such level of brazen scam possible. It is a deceitful practice ‘invented’ by the senior lecturer for making one publication appear like two ‘different’ ones for the sole purpose of gaining undeserved promotions and other concomitant advantages over his peers.
A thorough scrutiny of his publications showed that Dr. Raheem habitually carries out duplication of articles in two cunning ways. Ostensibly to cover his tracks, the first method is generally achieved by cleverly changing only the title of an already published article before it is published again under a different title to make one work look like ‘two’ articles. In most cases, nothing differentiates such two works except the titles. Besides taking great ‘pains’ to alter the title, the ‘prolific’ author also sometimes makes slight modifications, variations and rearrangements in some articles. What is however not in doubt, as months of investigations into his publications revealed, is that the UNILORIN don never resists the temptation to simply reproduce the same materials under new titles, packaging same as original or new works.
The second method of article duplication is slightly different. In some works, the UNILORIN ASUU chairman simply floods his new works with massive copying from previous articles, habitually done in an excessive way without providing a link or reference to the preceding articles. Granted that it is a useful rule of thumb in the academia that there is no crime in citing one’s previous works, especially if done properly, the Associate Professor unabashedly takes liberty for mental indolence through his verbatim and duplicitous repetition of materials from previous works in ‘newer’ ones, doing so in excessively high volumes and without revealing the connections through explicit reference. According to senior academics, this amounts to multiple misdemeanours in the sense that the publications, which are usually not his originally in the first place, are also further reproduced into ‘different’ articles to make him appear as a prolific scholar that he is certainly not.
Some examples will suffice. His “When Earth Bleeds’: Oil Exploration, Deprivation and Environmental Justice in Nigeria,” published as a sole author in the AFFRIKA Journal of Politics, Economics and Society (available at https://journals.co.za/content/aa_affrika/2/1_2/EJC128623), is hundred per cent the same in terms of content with “Violence as Adaptation: On Climate Change and Climate of Insecurity in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta,” which he published as lead author in the Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa (accessible at http://www.jsd-africa.com/Jsda/Vol15No3-Summer2013A/PDF/Violence%20a s%20Adaptation.Usman% 20Adebimpe%20Raheem.pdf). A careful reading of the two ‘works’ clearly exposed Dr. Raheem as a scholar who is only clever by half; he simply republished in 2013 the same article he had published in 2010 as sole author. But in the 2013 version, he merely changed the title and republished the same content verbatim, this time with ‘co-authors’ to give it an insignia of something new and fresh. Yet the two ‘works’ are exactly the same – all the way from the abstract to the conclusion and references!
It did not stop there. Although it is usually the same work that is published twice as two ‘different’ works, he cunningly went a step further by having the name of the lead author in the original article reversed to be the corresponding author in the duplicated version. In other words, to make everything appear speciously real, one article is sometimes published by a single author while the reproduced work is jointly authored. Beyond this, nothing except occasional typographical errors differentiated the duplicated works.
For example, “Urban Vulnerability and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Events: A Case Study of Rainstorms Victims in Ilorin, Nigeria,” which he published in 2013 as lead author in conjunction with Felix Olorunfemi, is the same with “Floods and Rainstorms Impacts, Responses and Coping among Households in Ilorin, Kwara State,” which he also published in 2013 (now with Olorunfemi as the lead author). While the former article was published in the journal of Geography, Environment, Sustainability (reachable at http://ges.rgo.ru/jour/article/view/135), the latter is available on pages 135-146 in the Journal of Educational and Social Research (accessible at http://www.mcser.org/journal/index.php/jesr/article/view/435. Nothing except minor additions and rearrangements differentiated the ‘two’ articles.
Besides enjoying the unholy alliance of containing massive word-for-word copying from other works, “Urban Vulnerability and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Events: A Case Study of Rainstorms Victims in Ilorin, Nigeria” (published in 2013 in Geography, Environment, Sustainability, accessible at https://ges.rgo.ru/jour/article/view/135) is the same with “Floods and Rainstorms Impacts, Responses and Coping among Households in Ilorin, Kwara State” (published in 2013 in the Journal of Educational and Social Research, available at http://www.mcser.org/journal/index.php/jesr/article/view/435). Although the ‘two’ articles are by the same authors, they are the same from the abstract to the premise to the introduction to the sections to sub-sections to results to discussions as well as findings and conclusions. Apart from having them published in the two different journals, the only ‘big’ difference noticed in the ‘publications’ is in how the authors’ names are inverted, with “Raheem and Olorunfemi” on one article and “Olorunfemi and Raheem” on the other one.
As if the above academic infractions were not hefty enough, Dr. Raheem’s “Urban Vulnerability and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Events: A Case Study of Rainstorms Victims in Ilorin, Nigeria” (published in 2013, available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316639010_URBAN_VULNERA BILITY_AND_ADAPTATION_TO_EXTRE ME_WEATHER_ EVENTS_A_CASE_STUDY_O F_RAINSTORM_VICTIMS_IN _ILORIN_NIGERIA) is heavily loaded with enormous word-for-word copying from his earlier article, Climate Change Related Disasters and Vulnerability: An Appraisal of the Nigerian Policy Environment (published in 2011 at http://docsdrive.com/pdfs/medwelljournals/erj/2011/97-103.pdf). In a manner that reeks of sheer intellectual indolence and fraud, Dr. Raheem simply duplicated sizeable parts of the abstract, keywords and the introduction of his 2011 article word-for-word in his 2013 publication without acknowledgement or any means of linkage or any reasons whatsoever for doing so – against all research etiquettes. Misdemeanours of varying proportions vitiate many other works published by the serial plagiarist.
Word-for-word copying of other people’s works
Perhaps having eaten the proverbial forbidden fruits without suffering the expected dire consequences, an emboldened Dr. Raheem quickly upped his game in egregious intellectual dishonesty, becoming more daring in copying other people’s sweat with reckless abandon. Now a scourge that is now the norm among many fledgling scholars in Nigeria’s academic firmament, ‘copy-and-paste’ publishing is universally adjudged as the worst form of plagiarism in the academia, attracting the most severe punishments, including outright expulsion and public shaming for culprits in a profession where the golden rule to “publish-or-perish” often undeniably exacts tremendous pressure to continually publish in order to further or sustain one’s career.
But in all the offending works, Dr. Raheem did not only go beyond “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of other authors’ “language, thoughts, ideas and expressions,” he also flagrantly copied several pages from many publications and represented them as his own original work. In all his works, evidence abounds that he stole the laborious research of other authors, including appropriating their constructions, words and usages without attribution. Months of painstaking assessment of his works showed sophisticated plagiarism in the articles, which portrayed the lecturer as a scholar whose second nature is intellectual stealing. In some offending articles, nothing less than seventy per cent was copied word-for-word from other people’s published works.
Like a high-ranking sovereign savouring the full panoply of royalty on his exalted throne, two articles sit conspicuously on Dr. Raheem’s long list of offending publications. “‘When Earth Bleeds’: Oil Exploration, Deprivation and Environmental Justice in Nigeria” and “Violence as Adaptation: On Climate Change and the Climate of Insecurity in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta” were published in 2010 and 2013, respectively. While the former (a 20-page article) was published in the AFRIKA Journal of Politics, Economics and Society (accessible online at https://journals.co.za/content/aa_affrika/2/1_2/EJC128623), the latter (a 22-page article) was in the Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa volume 13 (2) (accessible at http://www.jsd-africa.com/Jsda/Vol15No3-Summer2013A/PDF/Violence%20as%20 Adaptation.Usman%20 Adebimpe%20Raheem.pdf).
Besides other serious acts of academic misdemeanours swirling in the bowels of the two offending publications, they both contained massive word-for-word portions of several published works that were randomly stolen without acknowledgment. A thorough scrutiny showed clearly that the two offending articles, being products of brazen multiple plagiarism, stitched from seven publications without crediting the sources or authors. Without mincing words, pages 3-9, 11 and 13-15 of “‘When Earth Bleeds’: Oil Exploration, Deprivation and Environmental Justice in Nigeria” were heavily plagiarised. One of the works that became casualty in the itchy fingers of Dr. Raheem is “Oil Spill Disaster Monitoring along Nigerian Coastline,” published by Fatai Egberongbe (et al) in October 2006 in Shaping the Change, Munich, Germany (see especially pages 3-4, available at https://www.fig.net/resources/proceedings/fig_proceedings/fig2006/papers/ts16/ts16_02_egberongbe_etal_0223.pdf). Both “‘When Earth Bleeds’: Oil Exploration, Deprivation and Environmental Justice in Nigeria” and “Violence as Adaptation: On Climate Change and the Climate of Insecurity in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta” plagiarised Egberongbe (et al) massively.
But Dr. Raheem did not stop there. His offending articles also illegally appropriated the research of Aigbedion I. and Iyayi S.E., “Environmental Effect of Mineral Exploitation in Nigeria,” published in 2007 in the International Journal of Physical Sciences (see pages 33-35, accessible at http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380203149_Aigbedion%20 and%20I yayi.pdf). Perhaps due to the seminal quality of the work, virtually 3 pages were copied from the 5-page article by Aigbedion and Iyayi, a piece on the exploitation of Nigeria’s mineral resources. The UNILORIN don and his colleagues further plummeted down the pit of infamy by stealing a table (table 1) from the short but juicy publication. Although it was stated in “Violence as Adaptation: On Climate Change and the Climate of Insecurity in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta” that the table (showing mineral deposits in Nigeria and their level of exploitation) was adapted from Aigbedion and Iyayi, a comparison showed that there was no adaptation or modification at all, as the table was plagiarised outright.
As if that was not enough, Dr. Raheem’s “‘When Earth Bleeds’: Oil Exploration, Deprivation and Environmental Justice in Nigeria” and “Violence as Adaptation: On Climate Change and the Climate of Insecurity in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta” also benefited fraudulently from a “Niger Delta Human Development Report,” published in 2006 (see pages 59 and 61, accessible online at http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/human-development-report). The two works equally copied extensively without reference from Aderoju Oyefusi’s “Oil-dependence and Civil Conflict in Nigeria,” published in the Centre for the Study of African Economies Working Paper Series 2007(9) (see pages 9, 10 and 15; available here https://ideas.repec.org/p/csa/wpaper/2007-09.html). Dr. Raheem also plagiarised “Environmental Justice: Rights and Means to a Healthy Environment for All,” authored in 2001 by Carolyn Stephens et al (see pages 3 and 4, accessible online at https://friendsoftheearth.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/environmental_justice.pdf). It is published in the ESRC Global Environmental Change Programme Special Briefing No 7, November.
Dr. Raheem, in the two aforementioned articles, was also guilty as charged for plagiarising Charles Quaker-Dokubo’s “Ethnic Minority Problems in the Niger Delta” and Victor Dike’s “Mismanagement of Natural Resource Rents and the Niger Delta Crisis.” While the former was published in 2000 in the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (available at http://www.accord.org.za/ajcr-issues/ethnic-minority-problems-in-the-niger-delta/), the latter was published in 2006 (accessible here http://www.gamji.com/article6000/NEWS6594.htm). In a capsule, Dr. Raheem’s “‘When Earth Bleeds’: Oil Exploration, Deprivation and Environmental Justice in Nigeria” and “Violence as Adaptation: On Climate Change and the Climate of Insecurity in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta” stole heavily from seven published works of other authors.
Perhaps to further showcase his ‘sublime’ skills in intellectual stealing, the UNILORIN ASUU boss fared far worse in his next publication. His “Environment and Healthcare Delivery System in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Prospects,” a chapter he co-authored with Usman B.A. in General Studies in the Social Sciences: Some Fundamental Topics (edited by Adeleke B.L. and Ijaiya G.T.) is an example of a bad copy unworthy of even the smallest space in any book. Among a litany of other unethical issues that littered the publication, the offending 14-page chapter copied massively from a total of nine works without referencing!
First on the list of publications that were mindlessly stolen from is Graham Bentham’s “Global Environmental Change and Health,” a chapter in Health and Development (edited by David R. Phillips and Yola Verhasselt, published in 2002 (see page 33, accessible at https://books.google.com.ng/books?isbn=1134885881). Next was Joseph R. Oppong and Adam Harold’s “Disease, Ecology and Environment,” a chapter in A Companion to Health and Medical Geography(edited by Brown T. et al in 2010) (see pages 81-82, available at https://books.google.com.ng/books?hl=en&lr=&id=xRbvp GJRwzcC&oi=fnd&p g=PA81&dq=Disease,+Ecology+and+E nvironment&ots=QautA4DBMe&sig= VbaJ8qJox07BB9vNoiamm NmL1_E&redir_esc=y#v= onepage&q=Disease%2C% 20Ecology%20and%20 Environment&f=false).
Also, “Debates in Health and Medical Geography,” a chapter in A Companion to Health and Medical Geography, (edited by Brown et al in 2002), suffered a terrible plagiaristic blow in the hands of Dr. Raheem and his co-traveller (see page 18, accessible at https://books.google.com.ng/books?isbn=1444314777). The same offending “Environment and Healthcare Delivery System in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Prospects” equally plagiarised the abstract and some other paragraphs in S.V. Subramanian’s “Environment and Human Health,” published in ZEF Round Table on Health (www.zef.de/fileadmin/webfiles/downloads/EnvironmentandHealthFramework.pdf); just as it copied from “Health Care Facilities Mapping and Database Creation Using GIS in Chikun Local Government Area, Kaduna State, Nigeria,” published in the Global Health Journal in 2011 (available at https://socialscienceresearch.org/index.php/GJHSS/article/view/422).
Not done yet, Dr. Raheem also plagiarised Peter Ogunjuyigbe and Ayotunde Liasu’s “The Social and Economic Determinants of Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in Nigeria,” (published in 2007 at https://www.uaps2007.princeton.edu/papers/70155). The offending publication went further to copy page 41 of D.R. Kayang’s 1987 dissertation, “Organisation and Management of Health Services in Nigeria” (see page 41, available at https://www.stclements.edu/grad/gradkaja.pdf). The offending article capped its stealing by coping from two more publications: Yemisi Ogunlela’s (2011) “An Appraisal of Nigeria Health Sector and Its Health Care System,” published in the Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment (see page 82, accessible at https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/10f9/ed9f58825f772512c54684fa6df83a41fa75.pdf), and Sanni Garba Mohammed’s (2008) “Management of Primary Health Care in Local Government in Nigeria: Between Community and Environmental Health Officers” (available at https://www.tsaftarmuhalli.blogspot.com/2011/07/management-of-primary-health-care-in.html).
Also, in his (2011) “Urban and Rural Dimensions in Post-disaster Adjustment Challenges in Selected Communities in Kwara State,” Dr. Raheem clearly broke all research etiquettes by copying no fewer than seven published works in just one article. Perhaps as a way to portray himself as a don suffering from an unquenchable appetite for stealing, he copied enormously from other scholars’ intellectual property without crediting them. Published in JAMBA: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies (volume 3, number 3), the offending article (accessible at https://journals.co.za/content/jemba/3/2/EJC51187) stole from the abstract of Moniru Qader Mirza’s (2003) “Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events: Can Developing Countries Adapt?”(see pages 233-234; accessible here https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1469306203000524).
Besides copying “Effects of Global Warming on Health” from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_global_warming), Dr. Raheem also appropriated extensively from “Socio-cultural Engagement and Sensitivity in Disaster Risk Reduction,” published in 2009 as ICIMOD Briefing Paper 1/09 (see pages 1-2; available online at http://lib.icimod.org/record/26624), and a 2002 DFID’s “Disaster Management,” published in 2002 (see pages 1-2, accessible online at https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/3197.pdf). After stealing from Rohit Jigyasu’s 2002 thesis at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, “Reducing Disaster Vulnerability through Local Knowledge and Capacity” (see page 308), Dr. Raheem cobbled pages from Ibidun Adelekan’s 2009 “Vulnerability of Poor Urban Coastal Communities to Climate Change in Lagos, Nigeria” (see page 2, accessible online at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0956247810380141), and Action Aid (2008) “Unjust Waters, Climate Change, Flooding and the Protection of Poor Urban Communities: Experiences from Six African Cities” (see page 12, available at
Cobbling, falsification and data fraud
Another conspicuous stain on Dr. Raheem’s academic garment is in the area of data falsification and cobbling, which has made academic experts that examined his works to conclude that his level of “unethical behaviour is unpardonable” while his “kind of fraud in purported research is unprecedented.” In the academia where using non-existent data or fraudulent manipulation of data is an abhorrence that is often ruthlessly penalised, barefaced data cobbling routinely ran through the works of the UNILORIN don, as if accurate and appropriate data analysis is no longer an essential component of research integrity.
Examples of these academic misdemeanours abound in the works examined. When juxtaposed, “Urban Vulnerability and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Events: A Case Study of Rainstorms Victims in Ilorin, Nigeria” and “Floods and Rainstorms Impacts, Responses and Coping among Households in Ilorin, Kwara State” are a mumble jumble of data manipulation. As a matter of fact, were a global award instituted for data falsification and manipulation in research, Dr. Raheem and his co-traveller would richly deserve such an inglorious diadem, for infractions in the two articles have set new lows in academic fraud – in a magnitude that is bad enough to vitiate research findings and conclusions.
Although the two aforementioned articles self-professed to have covered different periods, everything – from the abstract to the data to the analysis to the conclusions to the results and discussions – is exactly the same, which academic experts said is a rarity in research. But, as condemnable as it is, that is just a tip of the iceberg of Dr. Raheem’s academic perfidy. For two ‘different’ studies that purportedly covered different periods and samples (with one claiming to have covered 2002 to 2007 while the other purportedly covered 2007 to 2009), it is highly disturbing to note that the tables in the ‘two’ works are curiously the same.
Also, it is only in Dr. Raheem’s and his colleague’s strange world of research that it is possible for all the socio-economic characteristics of respondents as well as characteristics of affected buildings, including number, frequency and percentage to be exactly the same in two different studies that purportedly covered two different periods and samples. It is obvious that the findings in the two studies were speciously prepared and packaged, as the authors struggled to round up the percentage values in the two articles in a uniform manner, with 4.55% in one work becoming 4.6% in the other. In the almighty ‘formula’ of rounding up that left the purported percentages to disagree with purported database, males respondents in the studies, which constituted 74.55% in one work, was rounded up to 74.6% in the other; just as the percentages of married respondents, farmers, artisans, traders, educated inhabitants, household size and other demographic indicators were fraudulently cooked up to be the same in two ‘different’ studies. Also, in a number of cases, the authors forgot to apply their beloved ‘recipe’ of rounding up percentage values, thereby contradicting the data and unwittingly exposing their own fraud. According to plagiarism experts that reviewed the works, “virtually every act of research misconduct combined in a single research output.”
False/partial citations, salami slicing
Although some of the sources are usually indicated in his publications, the general style in Dr. Raheem’s weird world of scholarship is to copy the sources word-for-word without quotation marks and then insert the names of the sources somewhere in his own articles. With this, the lecturer perhaps wants to deceive unsuspecting readers by giving the impression that he is merely paraphrasing the sources, whereas he is copying word-for-word. But besides being a plagiarist that is serially guilty of duplicating his articles by merely changing headlines, he is also fond of cobbling publications together from his own previous individual and joint works, including individual works of his co-authors.
As usual in his body of work, in addition to copying and pasting paragraphs word-for-word from previous works without attribution, stealing references from source texts is another academic misdemeanour that is regularly carried out on a massive scale in all his works, including retaining verbatim typographical or grammatical errors across ‘different’ articles. In all his publications, references that are inserted as notes in source texts are usually stolen from plagiarised sources and presented as sources the UNILORIN don has consulted, a practice he seems to have perfected by making all these appear different in his own texts to ward off suspicion.
For example, direct plagiarism is heavy in “Urban Vulnerability and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Conditions: A Case Study of Rainstorms Victims in Ilorin, Nigeria,” published (with Olorunfemi F.B.) in 2013, and “Climate Change Related Disasters and Vulnerability: An Appraisal of the Nigerian Policy Environment,” also published by the duo. The two works contained massive portions of “Floods and Rainstorms Impacts, Responses and Coping among Households in Ilorin, Kwara State.” They also stole from Olorunfemi’s previous work, “Managing Flood Disasters under A Changing Climate: Lessons from Nigeria and South Africa,” published in 2011 NISER Discussion Paper 1(see pages 1, 3-5, and 8, available online at https://www.proshareng.com/admin/upload/reports/ManagingFloodDisastersUnderA Changing Climate Lessons FromNigeria AndSoutAfrica.pdf). Further searches showed that Dr. Olorunfemi, who is of Social and Governance Policy Research Department of the Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research in Ibadan, Oyo State, had presented the paper at a NISER seminar before publishing same in NISER Discussion Paper.
Among other publications, the two offending works went ahead to copy from the following works: “Study on Local Coping Mechanisms in Disaster Management” (pages 3 and 6, accessible at https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0035/02631139f080b25e018799695acea8de7826.pdf); “Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation and Human Security” (see page 5 at https://www.unisdr.org/files/7946_GECHSReport3081.pdf); “Analysing Urban Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change: A Comparison of the Coastal Cities of Dhaka, Lagos and Hamburg” (see from page 24, available at https://www.unigiessen.de/fbz/fb03/institute/ifp/personen/schwindenhammer/dateien/paper1); “Climate Change: Human Vulnerability and Social Risk Management” (see pages 17-18, accessible at https://www.preventionweb.net/files/8933_SDCCWorkingPaperSRM1.pdf); “Exploring the Social and Environmental Determinants of Child Social Health in Ilorin, Nigeria” (from page 75, accessible at https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ejesm/article/download/48268/34630).
Like other multiple academic atrocities swirling in the bowels of other several offending articles of his, Dr. Raheem’s “Climate Change Related Disasters and Vulnerability: An Appraisal of the Nigerian Policy Environment,” published in Environmental Research Journal (Medwell) in 2011, is littered with word-for-word copying from earlier texts (reachable online at http://docsdrive.com/pdfs/medwelljournals/erj/2011/97-103.pdf). The article massively repeated and replicated other texts without reference, thereby making it appear fraudulently as a new material or latest contribution to the ever-growing body of knowledge. Among other things, it copied extensively from “Urban Vulnerability to Climate Change and Natural Hazards in Nigeria,” a chapter contributed to a book by the trio of Olorunfemi, Gbadegesin A.S. and Raheem in 2010. The book, Coping with Global Environmental Change, Disasters and Security Threats, was edited by Hans Gunter Brauch et al (see pages 678-680, available online at https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-17776-7_39).
Other offending articles were left out because of space constraints. But one thing is absolutely clear and certain: Dr. Raheem is a serial plagiarist. After a thorough reading and assessment of all publications he ‘authored’ and comparing same with legions of plagiarised sources, it is clear as crystal that the UNILORIN ASUU chairman is probably suffering from a settled habit of perusing other people’s works not to learn or broaden his intellectual horizon like his conscientious colleagues in the academia do. Rather, his itchy fingers simply move up and down the pages of other people’s works and copy sentences, paragraphs and pages, which he then uses as his own original thoughts, words and ideas.
Findings on PhD thesis at University of Ibadan
Dazed by the enormity of plagiaristic fraud prevalent in Dr. Raheem’s published works generally, especially how he has been able to go this far without being caught in a university system that detests academic infidelity, The Nation took a step further to procure a copy of his Doctor of Philosophy dissertation and subjected same to plagiarism checks. Among other things, the primary purpose was to find out when his addiction for intellectual stealing actually started. Unsurprisingly, what was also discovered in his dissertation is a similar trend of mindboggling plagiarism and sundry academic misdemeanours. Supervised by Professor S.I. Okafor, “Influence of Housing Quality Deprivation on Health Status of Residents in Ilorin, Nigeria,” a 242-page document, was submitted in July 2012 to the Department of Geography, University of Ibadan (UI), in partial fulfillment of requirements for the award of the highest academic degree.
Although he also obtained his first and second degrees in Geography at UI, plagiarism checks were limited to his doctoral thesis only. Like many published articles of his, an examination of his dissertation – which is supposed to be his first major document of original research and findings – showed rampant stealing from different sources and authors, among other things. While the dissertation is also badly suffused with all manner of plagiarism (such as stealing of ideas, etc.), focus was restricted to word-for-word stealing. Throughout the work, there is figure-for-figure and note-for-note copying, a practice involving stealing the same figures used in the plagiarised sources and simply transferring from the sources into his research. Generally, references inserted by original authors are stolen from notes indicated in source texts and dubiously relocated into the thesis to make it appear as sources consulted.
Right from the beginning of the 242-page dissertation, Dr. Raheem’s plagiaristic hand was clearly palpable, not hidden at all, as the pages were evidently laden with stolen works. Even from the opening pages and throughout the PhD work, there was a continuous thread of copying from other authors without acknowledgment, interspersed with a mixture of paraphrasing and word-for-word copying, especially in the formulation of “the central problem of this study.” Shockingly, even the so called “statement of the problem and justification for the study” were massively plagiarised, as well as the purported “central problem” of the thesis. In other words, throughout the dissertation, it was intellectual robbery galore, which calls to question the quality of PhD supervision in the nation’s universities.
For example, pages 4-7 of Dr. Raheem’s thesis are heavily overloaded with word-for-word stealing from Olorunfemi’s “Managing Flood Disasters under A Changing Climate: Lessons from South Africa,” published in 2011 (see pages 17-18; available at https://www.proshareng.com/admin/upload/reports/ManagingFloodDisastersUnderAChanging ClimateLessonsFrom NigeriaAndSout Africa.pdf). Also, the introduction (page 2) of the dissertation also copied verbatim from Thomas C. Ricketts’ 2002 “Geography and Disparity in Health” (see pages 2-3, accessible at http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Quality/NHDRGuidance/DisparitiesRicketts.pdf). Not done yet, pages 2-3 of the thesis was equally stolen from “Deprivation Indices, Population Health and Geography: An Evaluation of the Spatial Effectiveness of Indices at Multiple Scales” (see pages 1-2 available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2219571/). It was published in 2007 in the Journal of Urban Health by Nadine Schuurman (et al). Page 3 of the thesis also stole from Mai Stafford’s “Neighbourhood Deprivation and Health: Does It Affect Us All Equally?” It was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (see pages 2-3, accessible at https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/32/3/357/637091).
The dissertation also copied Scott Baum and William Mitchell’s (2009) Geographic Disadvantage: The Demographics of Social Exclusion in Australia” (see page 6 accessible at http://library.bsl.org.au/jspui/bitstream/1/2852/1/Geographic%20disadvantage.pdf). If academic misdemeaours littering the opening pages of the thesis are reprehensible, other parts of the voluminous work reek of worse plagiarism, as monumental infractions are so pervasive in the 242-page dissertation that listing all the plagiarised sources will be like counting stars!
But there is also a new discovery: Dr. Raheem is publishing his thesis in parts, though pretending to the academy that it is new research. Although self-plagiarism (where one’s previous work is reproduced without reference to the previous work) is ordinarily considered unethical, it becomes more critical when fictitious words or dates are inserted in the latter publication to make it appear like new research, thereby deceiving and misleading the world of scholarship. This, however, seems to mean nothing to UNILORIN ASUU Chairman. For example, his recent (2015) publication, “Understanding the Spatial Context of Sustainable Urban Health in Africa for the SDGs: Some Lessons from the Corridors of Deprivation in Ilorin, Nigeria,” is a reproduction of parts of his PhD thesis and other works of his. It was only made to look like a new research, which it obviously is not (see the recent article at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19376812.2015.1130100.). After critical analysis, it was established that the abstract of the ‘new’ work is a word-for-word reproduction of parts of the abstract of Dr. Raheem’s thesis of 2012. However, in the ‘new’ work, the year 2015 was inserted in passing to endue it with some measure of currency and newness.
‘I am not a plagiarist,’ says Raheem
When contacted to clear the air on the many question marks on his publications, Dr. Raheem initially appeared obliging. He, however, flatly turned down the opportunity to defend himself, choosing to bare his mind in a telephone conversation, which he initiated, instead of responding to questions emailed to him. Although he acknowledged receipt of the emailed questions, he said he did not want to say anything. Among other complaints, the UNILORIN ASUU boss insisted that he had not been confronted with or sighted any petition that would warrant him to defend himself.
“I am not a plagiarist and I have never been accused of plagiarism in my career. So I cannot respond in abstract,” he fired back with finality.
Despite prodding him to change his mind, he stood his grounds. Even after he was reminded that a petition had been forwarded to the office of the Vice Chancellor since February by an Ibadan-based Centre for Academic Integrity, Dr. Raheem feigned ignorance of the matter, insisting that it was better for the university to speak on the issue.
“Those writing petition are doing it for political reasons, but the university has its own procedure for doing things. It will be sub judice if I respond,” he said.
When told that this was not a court matter and that it was better for him to embrace the opportunity to defend his academic integrity (since he has a list of his published journal articles and book chapters), he said he wanted it reported that he did not talk to this reporter and that “I also declined to respond to your email questions.”
It was also a similar kettle of fish when The Nation reached out to Professor Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, Vice Chancellor of UNILORIN, who succeeded Prof Abdulganiyu Ambali last October. Surprisingly, the VC was also reticent when asked to provide updates on what UNILORIN had done regarding the petition, which detailed findings of plagiarism checks run on Dr. Raheem’s publications. Like his embattled subordinate, Prof Abdulkareem, an American-trained scholar with a track record of excellence, equally denied knowledge of the petitioners.
“I am not aware of any organisation called Academic Integrity Group,” he replied tersely on Wednesday April 4.
Not deterred by the VC’s response, The Nation tried to investigate further with a view to establishing one thing: whether the petition reached UNILORIN or not. Despite denials, this newspaper can authoritatively report that all available evidence suggested that the parcel (containing the petition) reached the university on March 2. Even before the parcel could reach UNILORIN via courier service delivery, the soft copy of the petition was sent as an email attachment to the VC’s official email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) on March 1. A copy of the attachment was also sent to the Registrar (email@example.com) as well as the National Universities Commission, Minister of Education and ASUU national secretariat.
As for the hard copy, there is also ample evidence that the petition was delivered safely to UNILORIN through express mail delivery of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST). According to the EMS Ilorin delivery record, the petition (parcel number EE330115328NG), which was sent to UNILORIN on February 27, was received in the VC office on March 2 (exactly by 10.55am). Further checks revealed that Dare Olatoye, a Higher Executive Officer in the VC office, collected and signed for the parcel. Despite bringing all this to the attention of the VC, he still did not address the issues. Instead of digging into Dr. Raheem’s plagiarism issues with a view to ascertaining the truth and meting out appropriate punishment, the “better by far” university rewarded him with membership of a high-powered Committee on Certificate Screening to verify certificates of all staff members. The screening commenced April 24.
But this would not be the first time a UNILORIN high-ranking academic fellow would be treated with kid gloves after being caught in the act, especially when culprits are those in the good books of the administration. A recent case was that of Dr. Abdullateef Usman, formerly of the Department of Economics in UNILORIN, whose plagiarism scandal and subsequent indictment were brazenly swept under the carpet during Professor Ambali’s reign as VC. Unlike the current case that was uncovered by external bodies, Dr. Usman’s was discovered by his own colleagues in the Faculty of Social Sciences. However, in spite of serious acts of plagiarism established against him by the Faculty of Social Sciences Investigative Committee, which probed the allegations against him and submitted its findings in 2015, UNILORIN still allowed Dr. Usman to go home and sin no more (seen The Nation of March 15, 2017 for details). Immediately after he was left off the hook through a curious resignation, an academic regarded as an administration crony during his days in UNILORIN suddenly emerged as a Professor and VC of Fountain University, a faith-based tertiary institution owned by the Nasrul-Lahi-il-Fatih Society (NASFAT), in Osogbo, capital of Osun State. Will Dr. Raheem enjoy the same reprieve or soft landing handed out to Dr. Usman during Professor Ambali’s administration? Only time can tell.