The Rivers State Government has alleged that there is a syndicate within the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) which collects money from some officials to enlist them as supervisors in the on-going examination conducted by the body.
The state Commissioner for Education, Dr. Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja, who gave the indication while speaking on a radio programme in Port Harcourt monitored by The Tide at the weekend, expressed worry over a new terminology called ‘sign-on fee’ used by those linked to the syndicate to recoup what they have spent by exploiting candidates sitting for the exam.
The commissioner said that the act was being perpetrated by some bad eggs in WAEC with their partners who may be school heads in Rivers State, cautioning that the state government would not allow that to continue.
According to him, “I want to distinguish between examination malpractice and a new terminology that is in town; what they call ‘sign-on fee’. It is crazy! We discovered that they have changed procedure now.”
The commissioner said that he has received several calls from parents on the trend, saying the most recent was a report about a supervisor at Government Secondary School, Elekahia, Port Harcourt, who was collecting N1,000 from each student before they could submit their scripts.
“The chairman of the Rivers State Senior Secondary Schools Board got to Elekahia (last Thursday) and incidentally he got the supervisor who is a teacher in Government Secondary School, Oyigbo.
“I asked her ‘were you nominated to be a supervisor?’ and she said she was not nominated. Since she was not nominated by her principal, she has no business being a supervisor.
“Now, the question is ‘how did you find yourself here’? Her response was that she paid N30, 000 to her vice principal or a teacher in her school who linked her up to somebody.
“I asked where? She became evasive. She said she was linked and somehow, she got an appointment letter from WAEC to become a supervisor.
“Now, all these point to the fact that there are a syndicate. Now, certain persons have been nominated to be supervisors, and because you want to recoup. Because you want to make quick money, all they do is look for some syndicates.
“If you look at the presentation of the woman, I paid N30, 000 to my vice principal who took me to somebody. Now, the syndicate here would have been some of our teachers and some people in WAEC,” he stated.
Gogo-Jaja noted that there were people bent on circumventing procedures, saying “these people are within the system, if you do not investigate properly, it will be difficult to catch up with these people.
“Now, the lady that has been caught will lead us to the principal of her school or the vice principal who will eventually get us to the person who brought in her name in the list of supervisors,” he added.
He further said that the state Ministry of Education, in collaboration with relevant partners, have a major target which is to end examination malpractice, saying “aside the decision of handling public schools, we engaged owners of private schools because you mostly have these miracle centres in private schools.
“Now, the reports that I have been getting since the exam (WAEC) started have been on issues of either you pay before you enter or if you don’t pay, you cannot pass your answer script. Now, this is what they adopted as a ‘sign-on fee’, ranging from N500 or N1,000.
“Because you have paid a syndicate N30, 000, you will find a way to recoup it, not minding the fact that we have stated and warned that if you get involved, you will lose your job, and that is the truth of the matter.”
RSU, IAUOE Join Varsity Workers Strike. Today
Workers of Nigerian universities will begin a nationwide “warning” strike today following the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum given the Federal Government to address issues of Earned Allowances, sacked workers of university staff schools and other issues affecting their members and the university system.
President of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Chairman of Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU, Samson Ugwoke, told newsmen that the strike would be “total and comprehensive”.
Ugwoke pointed out that already, their members have been mobilised, while all the non-teaching staff in the university system across the federation have been directed to stay at home from today.
The SSANU president, however, said it would last for five days, from Monday to Friday, to serve as a warning to the Federal Government.
“Yes, the strike will start on Monday, and it will be comprehensive and total. It will last for five days – Monday to Friday. To ensure its success, we have already mobilised all our members, and they have been directed to stay away from work from Monday,” Ugwoke said.
The unions, under the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU, had issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to meet their demands or face a nationwide strike.
The unions said the strike had become imperative as the government failed to response to their demands.
In a circular issued after the JAC meeting penultimate Thursday, and sent to all branches, the unions warned that at the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum, they would be left with no other option than withdrawing their services and closing down the universities if the government fails to address all their grievances.
Entitled: “Notice of Industrial Action,” the circular, which was signed by Ugwoke and the General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, lamented the non-challant attitude of the Federal Government towards addressing their grievances and obeying court judgment.
The circular read: “That a 14-day ultimatum of industrial action be given to the Federal Government to address the pending issues with effect from Monday, August 5, 2019. During the period of the ultimatum, all branches are hereby directed to carry out peaceful protest on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 and Thursday, August 15, 2019.
“At the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum, Sunday, August 18, 2019, without any positive response from the Federal Government, members shall proceed on a five-day warning strike in all branches from Monday 19 to Friday, August 23, 2019, inclusive.
“You are, therefore, directed to properly mobilise our members for this action. All defaulting branches shall be sanctioned accordingly.”
However, academic and other official activities would be paralysed in the two state-owned universities, the Rivers State University (RSU) and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUOE) following the nationwide industrial strike embarked upon by the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) under the aegis of Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU, today.
Speaking to The Tide on the decision to join the strike in the state, the Chairman of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) at the Rivers State University (RSU), Nkpolu-Oruworukwo, Port Harcourt, Comrade Azuma Cheta said members of the union would join the strike beginning from today because of alleged government’s insensitivity to the plight of their members working at the university staff schools as well as its inability to comply with the national directives of the union.
Cheta disclosed that the state government had refused to pay their members working at the staff schools and the international schools their salaries for the past four years.
The chairman said they would have relaxed the strike but for the interest of those members now languishing in pains over the government’s refusal to pay them salaries since February, 2016.
“We will comply with the directive but for our members at the international schools and staff schools, who the state government has refused to pay salaries for the past four years”, he stated.
Also at the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUOE), the Chairman of SSANU, Comrade Chisa Egwu could not be reached for comments, but a senior staff working at the administration department, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said they held a congress meeting on the proposed strike, last Friday, at the union’s auditorium.
Police Confirm Three Deaths In Khana Fresh Violence …LG Boss, Ex-Youth Leader’s Houses Razed
The Rivers State Police Command has dispelled ‘fake news’ making the rounds that more than 36 persons were killed by suspected cultists in a raid on two Khana communities of Opuoko and Lumene in Rivers State, yesterday.
In a statement, yesterday, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed that only three persons were actually killed during the attacks on the communities in Khana Local Government Area.
The statement reads, “The attention of the Rivers State Police Command has been drawn to the above ‘caption’ making the rounds on social and traditional media on the state of affairs in Opuoko and Lumene communities in Khana LGA.
“Ordinarily, this distorted news should have been ignored as the command is not given to frivolities and fake news capable of stirring disaffection and causing panic and tension in the state.
“However, in order that the public will not be immediately misinformed and hold erroneous impression resulting from the fake news, we have, therefore, deemed it necessary to put the records straight, and state as follows: That today 18/8/19 at about 0630Hrs, information got to us that a group of cult boys invaded two communities in Khana (Opuoko and Lumene) where they attacked and killed one person in Opuoko and two in Lumene, altogether three persons died.
“The houses of the LGA chairman and the former youth leader came under attack.
“The attackers on sighting the police took to flight but were chased and two of them arrested, while the trail for others is still on.
“The two suspects are Damwua Karagbara, 33 years (alias Spider); and Dinee Prince, 23 years.
“Exhibits recovered from them include: Assorted phones and military camouflage.
“So far, calm has returned in both communities.
“The CP has ordered Investigation into the incident with a view to ascertaining the remote and immediate causes of the attack and to bring perpetrators to justice.
“We are again appealing to the public to help us with useful information that can lead to the arrest of these mindless criminals, via the following security numbers: 08032003514, 08098880134, and 08182157778”, the statement added.
Lawyer Petitions UK, DSS To Probe Buhari’s Cambridge Documents
The Department of State Services and the London Metropolitan Police Service have received petitions to investigate the documents said to have been obtained from Cambridge University and tendered by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential election petition tribunal.
Copies of the separate petitions dated August 14, 2019, were signed by a Nigerian lawyer, Kalu Kalu Agu.
It would be recalled that the president’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, had told the tribunal that he obtained the President’s ‘assessment’ documents from Cambridge University.
He was quoted as saying he personally signed for and collected the documents on behalf of the President.
The UK-based examination body oversaw the conduct of final year secondary school examination in Nigeria and placement into foreign universities in the 1960s.
In the two petitions forwarded by Agu, the lawyer questioned the authenticity of the ‘certifying statement’ said to have been obtained from the Cambridge Assessment International Education.
He asked the UK police and the DSS to launch an investigation into the circumstances leading to the procurement.
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