Abia State government has formally reintroduced school fees abolished about nine years ago in the state just as it has put measures in place to shore up its Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR)
At the inception of the administration of former governor Orji Uzor Kalu, Abia introduced a free-tuition education, relieving parents of the burden of school fees. But the system was subverted by unscrupulous operators who introduced all sorts of illegal fees which left parents and guardians groaning under heavy fees.
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Chief John Nwokocha, told newsmen at the end of the state Executive Council (EXCO) meeting last Wednesday, that the new school fees has been christened Development Fees.
Nwokocha said that the fee regime for primary schools in urban areas is N1,500 per annum per pupil while their counterparts in non-urban primary schools would pay N600 per annum per pupil.
He also said that each student in urban secondary school would pay N3,000 per annum, while those in non-urban secondary schools would pay N1,500 per student.
The commissioner explained that EXCO approved that the fees could be split into three and paid installmentally per term.
He said that EXCO approved the fees following its adoption of a report submitted by an eight-man committee set up to articulate how government could improve on its IGR and announced that with the introduction of the new school fees, “all levies in schools have been abolished.”
Answering a question on whether the state government would still pride itself as running a free education system, he replied: “If you had followed me keenly, you would have underscored the point that all other fees have been abolished. You will agree with me that there were multifarious of fees in schools. There were some people who claimed they were collecting fees for what you call the PTA, etc. and the there were so many fees but what the state government has done is to harmonise these fees into a development fee. This is to augment what government is giving to the schools as subvention for us to have standard facilities and, of course, improve the condition of learning in the schools.”
The commissioner also announced that henceforth, all financial transactions by and with government of the state would be by electronic payment (e-payment) while anybody who has any business to do with government would be required to show a tax clearance certificate covering three years period.
“EXCO today also resolved that for every business you want to do with the Abia State government – those who are coming for contracts, registration of pupils and students in schools, you have to provide evidence of tax clearance for, at least, three years,” he said, adding, “the highlight of today’s EXCO meeting was the introduction or the launch of the e-payment system. If you are to do any business- to pay fees, levies in the state, it has to be done electronically. We have from today ceased to do any cash dealings. There are designated banks and account numbers that anybody who has anything to do or to make payments to the Abia State government would go through those processes.”
According to him, these were part of the measures taken by EXCO to plug all leakages in the revenue system of the government and shore up its IGR.
Church Celebrates Advent Liturgy Service
The Lynn Chancel & Towers mission, Port Harcourt, has celebrated the Advent Liturgy Service to herald the beginning of a new ecclesiastic calendar year.
The advent liturgy which is an Anglican rites, is celebrated among Anglican, Catholic and Methodist faithful as a season of expectations by the church in celebration of the second coming of Jesus Christ and also His coming as a judge at the end of time.
Therefore, this year’s celebration is the second season organised by the Chancel of Our Lady Lynn and Towers Mission, Woji in Port Harcourt, Rivers State since its establishment and was specially designed to give hopeful edification for Christians and friends of the mission.
Speaking at the Advent Liturgy Service and Worship held at the Chancel of Our Lady Lynn & Towers Mission, Woji yesterday, the Presiding Priest and cleric, Ven. Fyneface Ndubishi Akah said the essence of the celebration was an expression of gratitude of God’s kindness and His benevolence and grace in ushering mankind into another new year through forgiveness of our sins.
Akah said the advent liturgy, an annual spiritual ritual, observed and celebrated by the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Eastern Othordox churches is marked four weeks to Christmas and kick starts the commencement of a new ecclesiastical calendar year.
He said it is an opportunity God offers to mankind to take a sober reflection of his or her past life in the past year ended with a view to having a renewed Christian life, adding that “the stock taking of our life activities should be both in our stewardship and relationship with one another”.
“Every year, there is new beginning, men take new resolutions. When we stage Advent Liturgy, we appreciate God for not killing us for our sins because we make mistakes in both spiritual and rational relationships. We are selfish. We fail in our marriage relationships and also in our societal responsibilities. The new year calendar date begins today, advent day, it is seasonal and does not have a regular date like the circular calendar but is celebrated four weeks before Christmas”, he stated.
The Anglican priest, who also doubles as the Executive Chairman of the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board, (RSUBEB) used the opportunity to call on leaders at all levels to discharge the thrust of leadership entrusted to them with the fear of God and ensure that they provide those projects that will impact positively on the lives of the people.
“Our country is grieving. If you are President, governor or local government chairman rule with human face,” he stated.
The Tide reports that the service featured hymns, Eucharist, and climaxed with an award presentation to Ven Fyneface Akah by the Niger Delta Provincial Students Association, Institute of Theology and Paul University, Akwa, Anambra State.
By: Akujobi Amadi
Zamfara PDP Conducts Ward Congress …Says Nobody Can Intimidate Party
The Zamfara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has conducted its congress in the 147 wards of the State.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the ward congress in Gusau, the state capital, the Acting Chairman of the party, Col. Bala Mande (rtd), said the members adopted consensus method, saying that there was no agitation from members.
“The congress was conducted very peacefully because there were adequate security operatives across the state,” he added.
According to the state chairman of the party, there was nothing like parallel congress. He noted that the electoral committee from the party’s headquarters commended the members of the party for conducting themselves in orderly manner.
“I want to use this opportunity to tell the whole world that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies were adequately represented.”
When asked to comment on the PDP chances of forming government in the state in 2023, the former military governor said that the conduct of the congress indicated that the party is on ground in Zamfara State.
Mande refuted the claim that the ruling APC in the State has been trying to silence PDP in the State, saying the ruling APC has no constitutional power to stop PDP in the state.
“That was misinformation and empty propaganda which was supposed to be thrown into another basket.”
He urged the teeming supporters of the party to remain steadfast, saying that the fact that APC stole their mandate did not mean that they would not reclaim it again.
Group Backs Ortom On Call To Probe Akume
Zone A Peoples’ Assembly ZAPA, has said that it greatly appreciates the Benue State Executive Council led by Governor Samuel Ortom for taking a very courageous and appropriate step to question, in order to retrieve the over N4billion allegedly embezzled by the Senator George Akume administration that held sway from 1999-2007.
The group said it is convinced that the decision by the current administration in the state will undoubtedly assist the people of the state in dual advantages of first, appreciating how the state commenced on a faulty note the journey after the final resurgence of democracy in the country. Secondly, retrieving monies embezzled by heartless gluttons will help greatly to further add to the development of the State.
ZAPA said it is properly equipped to stand behind Governor Ortom and the Benue State Executive Council in this direction with every legitimate support to go all out in ensuring that those who committed such brazen corruption to the detriment of our people are brought to book, and made to refund the huge stolen funds.
ZAPA, in a statement signed by Fannen Mondo, its National President and Sir J T Ornguga, National General Secretary, said it has also set up a crack team to unearth all files allegedly hidden at the Federal Ministry of Justice, ICPC and EFCC containing petition against Senator George Akume and his government written by some anti corruption crusaders like the Benue Proactive Coalition, Late. Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, amongst others.
“Democracy in this dispensation which began in 1999 was meant to usher in a new lease of life for the people of Nigeria, viz, Benue State through a democratic culture driven by transparency and openness. Unfortunately, Akume who was at the driver’s seat as Governor betrayed the peoples’ hope by starting on a filthy note by amongst other things, elevating corruption during his time to statecraft,” the group said.
“We are calling on all anti-graft agencies, especially the EFCC, to understand that Governor Samuel Ortom led Benue State Executive Council by this action has only answered the consistent yearnings of the people of Benue State including ZAPA.
“We are sending affidavits with documentary evidence of very many white elephant projects and audio projects executed by Akume in the entire of the Benue North East Senatorial Districts”.
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