Mixed reactions yesterday trailed the decision of the Federal Government to punish culprits of examination malpractice with a five-year jail term or N200, 000 fine or both.
Our correspondent reports that the approval was given by the Federal Executive Council last Wednesday for the amendment of the West African Examinations Council Act.
Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos branch, Mr Taiwo Taiwo, said that it was a step in the right direction.
“I think it is a step in the right direction because the rate of cheating in examinations is becoming alarming and to that extent, it must be curbed,’’ Taiwo said.
He however advised that the law must be implemented across board and not to favour the privileged in the society.
Speaking in similar manner, another Lagos lawyer, Mr Wale Ogunade, said the implementation of the law would be difficult when the offenders were of higher social statusf.
Ogunade said cheating was being encouraged by some wealthy individuals, who had the resources to influence supervisors and purchase examination questions papers for their children.
“There was a law on examination malpractice before. Has it been implemented?,” he asked.
Ogunade said the best way to tackle the menace, was to improve the welfare of teachers and provide conducive learning environment for the students.
A lawyer and public commentator, Mr Jiti Ogunye, told newsmen that the amendment would not deter exam cheats.
Ogunye urged stakeholders in the education sector, to convene an emergency summit on how to proffer lasting solutions to the problem.
“It is not just a matter of criminalising the conduct and penalising the offenders.
“Most of the students are minors and you cannot send them to jail. The best you can do, is to send them to correctional homes,” he said.
Mr Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), a non-governmental organisation, said Nigerian students deserved proper learning environment.
“It is those who are operating special centres where children are encouraged to cheat that should be in jail.
“It is those who have failed to provide the necessary learning facilities in schools that should be in jail.
“You can’t stop examination malpractices as long as students are not being taught properly,” he said.
It would be recalled that in a bid to curb the widespread vice of exam malpractice amongst Nigerian students, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, had proposed a jail term of 5 years and a fine of N200,000 or both for any students caught cheating during external examinations.
This followed the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval of the memo from the Ministry of Education seeking to amend the WAEC Act 2004 in line with the 2003 convention in Ghana.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting last Wednesday, Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, said the proposal for the amendment would be forwarded to the National Assembly towards domesticating the convention in Nigeria.
The minister, who attended the briefing alongside the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu and Minister of Environment, Hadiza Mailafia, said the new penalties also involved barring offenders from taking the examination in future.
She said, “with this amendment, any person that may be caught in one of those acts will now be fined the sum of N200, 000 or he may be imprisoned for five years or both depending on the establishment of that offence.”
IPPIS: FG, ASUU Meet, Today, As Fresh Strike Looms
Delegations from the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are expected to meet, today, in a bid to avert a fresh strike.
The chairmen of ASUU branches had expressed readiness to commence a fresh strike over the non-implementation of their agreement with FG on IPPIS.
One of them, Chairman, ASUU, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Dr Ibrahim Inuwa, said the protracted strike, which was to press home the union members’ demands for the continued survival of the public university system in Nigeria, was suspended in December after the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the various issues and providing timelines for the implementation of each of the eight items in the agreement.
Inuwa said over seven months after the MoU was signed only two out of the eight issues had been addressed.
He listed some of the outstanding issues to include payment of the earned academic allowance, funding for revitalisation of public universities, salary shortfall, proliferation of state universities and setting up of visitation panels.
Others are renegotiation, replacement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) and withheld salaries and non-remittance of check-off dues.
A statement by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Charles Akpan, said the Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige, will be hosting the leadership of the ASUU to a meeting at the ministry’s Conference Room, Federal Secretariat in Abuja.
“The Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, will be hosting a meeting with ASUU. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 2, 2021 at Minister’s Conference Room,” the letter read.
The National President, ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, had said that the union was invited by the Ministry of Labour to discuss issues surrounding the Memorandum of Action, which was signed with the Federal Government in December, 2020.
However, Osodeke, explained the last time the union met with the government was around March/April.
He said, “The Ministry of Education, which is our ministry, has not called us to any meeting since we signed the Memorandum of Action. But the Ministry of Labour, which is just an intervention ministry, around March/April called us to a meeting in which we discussed and they promised to implement all those things.”
30 Of 65 Private Jets In Nigeria Owe Duties, Customs Insists
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says 30 out of 65 private airplanes verified owe duties to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, made the disclosure to newsmen, yesterday.
He said some of the airplanes came into the country by Temporary Importation Agreement which allows them in without payment because it was secured by bond.
The spokesman noted that many later fail to turn up to pay on the expiration of the agreement.
The customs explained that the verification was not meant to embarrass anyone but to collect payments due to the government.
The service has given another two-week extension which commenced from Monday, July 26, to Friday, August 6.
Attah said with the increasing economic challenge, every revenue is important.
“With this, you can now tie proper ownership to every aircraft or private jet that flies in and out of the country.
“The owners of private jets are highly placed Nigerians who should be respected and approached in a manner that provides convenience. That is what these extensions stand for,” he added.
FBI Indictment: PSC, IGP Suspend Kyari, Name Inquiry Panel
The Police Service Commission (PSC) has suspended embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police and Head, Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police Force, Abba Kyari, from the exercise of the powers and functions of his office.
Kyari’s suspension was contained in a press statement by the commission’s Head, Press and Public Relations, Ikechukwu Ani, made available to newsmen, yesterday.
The commission said Abba Kyari’s suspension took effect from Saturday, July 31, 2021, and would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States.
The commission has also directed the Inspector General of Police to furnish it with information on further development on the matter for necessary further action.
The commission’s decision which was conveyed in a letter with reference, PSC/POL/D/153/vol/V/138 to the Inspector General of Police today, Sunday, August 1st, 2021, was signed by Hon. Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and Honourable Commissioner 1 in the commission for the commission’s Chairman, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General of Police who is currently on leave.
Earlier, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, had recommended the immediate suspension of DCP Abba Kyari from the service of the Nigeria Police Force, pending the report of the four-man investigative panel constituted to probe him.
A statement by the spokesperson of the Force, CP Frank MBA, last Saturday, the IGP, in his letter to the Police Service Commission (PSC), dated July 31, 2021, noted that the recommendation is in line with the internal disciplinary processes of the force.
According to the IGP, the suspension would also create an enabling environment for the NPF Special Investigation Panel, to carry out its investigations into the allegations against Kyari without interference.
He explained that the suspension is without prejudice to the constitutional presumption of innocence in favour of the officer, the statement said.
The four-man Special Investigation Panel (SIP), is headed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), DIG Joseph Egbunike.
“The SIP is to undertake a detailed review of all the allegations against DCP Abba Kyari by the US Government as contained in relevant documents that have been availed the NPF by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“The SIP is also to obtain detailed representation of DCP Abba Kyari to all the allegations levelled against him, conduct further investigations as it deems fit, and submit recommendations to guide further actions by the Force leadership on the matter,” Mba said.
Meanwhile, the IGP has reaffirmed the commitment of the force to the rule of law, and assured the public of the sanctity of the probe as well as the absolute respect for the rights and privileges of the officer throughout the period of the investigations.
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