Category Archives: Education

No teacher was sacked by Abia State Government – Commissioner

Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu had debunked claims that the state governor sacked 5 666 teachers from the State Civil Service.

In an Opinion authored by Kalu, and published earlier by this media, he explained that the 5,666 teachers were never employed by the state government, as there has been a long standing embargo on employment in the civil service.

He also stated that whereas some of the teachers were employed by the Parents Teachers Associations of various schools, with internal arrangements for their renumeration, many fell victim to fraudulent persons who claimed to be insiders in government and would help them become full civil servants.

His words “There is a long existing embargo on new employment in Abia State Civil Service and only the Governor of the state can validly issue a waiver to employ anyone or group of persons to fill any vacancy within the service.

“Every civil servant, no matter the level, is aware of this fact and its implication for those wishing to join the civil service: only a valid waiver, in this circumstance, from the Governor, or a lifting of the embargo by the Governor, can genuinely give employment.

“Between 2018 and March 2020, Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) hired some teachers ostensibly as PTA-teachers who were supposed to be paid by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of some schools that needed them to fill some vacancies. They were never meant to draw their wages from the civil service of the state as no budgetary provision was made for that purpose and the Governor never issued any employment waiver for their hiring.

“According to information released from the office of the Chief of Staff (COS) to the Governor, about 5,666 persons were involved in this PTA arrangement without the necessary employment waivers. None of them ever received wages from the state government, in line with the terms of their hiring by SEMB, whereas 187 teachers employed by sane SEMB with valid waivers within the same period were receiving wages from the state government.

“Nobody was sacked, please.

“Obviously, some unscrupulous persons took money from the PTA teachers and others in need of teaching jobs, and promised them full government employment as teachers whereas those involved knew they could only hire PTA teachers at the request of the schools. One of the affected persons told me she was made to part with thousands of naira and told to go and work as the Governor would ultimately be compelled to approve their full employment and authorize their salary payment from the state government coffers.

“That is a SCAM.

“When the Governor found out about this scam, he empaneled a committee to review what happened and report back to him. The committee’s report pointed to all sorts of malfeasance including extortion, deception, manipulation of records etc and the government decided to make public its position via relevant announcements regarding the illegality so that those affected would not fall into the venture of making false claims of being owed for some work supposedly done for the state government.

“In the announcement signed by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr ACB Agbazuere, government never claimed to have sacked any teacher because you simply can’t sack someone you never hired. None of the affected persons received any employment waiver from the Governor and those validly given waivers are continuing with their job.

“There are windows available to those PTA teachers and others: approach the schools where you were supposedly working to write the Commissioner for Education and request for your services as a teacher giving cogent reasons for the request with the letter copied to the COS. If the Honorable Commissioner finds merit in the request, he will recommend to the Governor for a waiver to be issued. Only the issuance of such waivers validates your employment with the state government. The other window is to wait for the state government to do a general audit of teachers in the state with a view to identifying where vacancies exist and fill same. According to the announcement, the government is ready to consider the 5,666 persons first, before others, to fill such gaps, if in existence.

“As per the argument that they met the then Commisioner for Education, please find out if they met him as newly employed teachers in the civil service or simply as PTA teachers”, he stated.

Abia’s 5,666 Teachers: You can’t sack someone you never hired-JOK

There is a long existing embargo on new employment in Abia State Civil Service and only the Governor of the state can validly issue a waiver to employ anyone or group of persons to fill any vacancy within the service.

Every civil servant, no matter the level, is aware of this fact and its implication for those wishing to join the civil service: only a valid waiver, in this circumstance, from the Governor, or a lifting of the embargo by the Governor, can genuinely give employment.

Between 2018 and March 2020, Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) hired some teachers ostensibly as PTA-teachers who were supposed to be paid by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of some schools that needed them to fill some vacancies. They were never meant to draw their wages from the civil service of the state as no budgetary provision was made for that purpose and the Governor never issued any employment waiver for their hiring.

According to information released from the office of the Chief of Staff (COS) to the Governor, about 5,666 persons were involved in this PTA arrangement without the necessary employment waivers. None of them ever received wages from the state government, in line with the terms of their hiring by SEMB, whereas 187 teachers employed by same SEMB with valid waivers within the same period were receiving wages from the state government.

Nobody was sacked, please.

Obviously, some unscrupulous persons took money from the PTA teachers and others in need of teaching jobs, and promised them full government employment as teachers whereas those involved knew they could only hire PTA teachers at the request of the schools. One of the affected persons told me she was made to part with thousands of naira and told to go and work as the Governor would ultimately be compelled to approve their full employment and authorize their salary payment from the state government coffers.

That is a SCAM.

When the Governor found out about this scam, he empaneled a committee to review what happened and report back to him. The committee’s report pointed to all sorts of malfeasance including extortion, deception, manipulation of records etc and the government decided to make public its position via relevant announcements regarding the illegality so that those affected would not fall into the venture of making false claims of being owed for some work supposedly done for the state government.

In the announcement signed by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr ACB Agbazuere, government never claimed to have sacked any teacher because you simply can’t sack someone you never hired. None of the affected persons received any employment waiver from the Governor and those validly given waivers are continuing with their job.

There are windows available to those PTA teachers and others: approach the schools where you were supposedly working to write the Commissioner for Education and request for your services as a teacher giving cogent reasons for the request with the letter copied to the COS. If the Honorable Commissioner finds merit in the request, he will recommend to the Governor for a waiver to be issued. Only the issuance of such waivers validates your employment with the state government. The other window is to wait for the state government to do a general audit of teachers in the state with a view to identifying where vacancies exist and fill same. According to the announcement, the government is ready to consider the 5,666 persons first, before others, to fill such gaps, if in existence.

As per the argument that they met the then Commisioner for Education, please find out if they met him as newly employed teachers in the civil service or simply as PTA teachers.

Thank you.

-JOK(Honourable Commissioner for Information, Abia State)

Gov Ikpeazu sacks Abia SEMB Executive Secretary, drops 5,666 teachers over employment waiver

Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, the Governor of Abia State, has ordered the compulsory retirement of the Executive Secretary of Secondary Education Management Board, SEMB, Lawrence Ogbonna, who was on suspension.

The governor also said that 5,666 teachers who were wrongly employed without waiver by the Secretary be dropped from the state’s employment register.

The Governor’s directive was contained in a press release by his Chief of Staff, Barrister Anthony Agbazuere, on Wednesday, after receiving the report of the Committee on the supposed employment without waiver at the Secondary Education Management Board, SEMB.

In the release, Governor Ikpeazu noted the submissions of the Committee to the effect that out of the 5,853 people said to have been employed between 2018 to 2020, only 187 people were employed with a waiver, leaving the rest 5,666 people as employed without the waiver.

“In case, any of the 5,666 people employed without a waiver, was asked to start work by anybody, such a person should stop forthwith, having been so employed unlawfully.

“Schools that have a need for teachers in some special areas should make their submissions to the Commissioner for Education and copy the Chief of Staff to the Governor.

“That whenever there is such need to employ teachers, the government shall take recourse to the list of 5,666 people for employment”.

Prince Ariyo laid to rest as Children,  Warri Chiefs, top government functionaries  pay tributes

Ogba Philemon, Warri Nigeria.

The remains of renowned Educationist/Engr and Father of popular Warri Chief and legal luminary, Chief Barr. Robinson Ariyo Late Prince Samson Taba Ariyo has been laid to rest at his home town Ekehuan in Ovia North East Local Government Area, Edo State.

Late Prince Samson Babatunde Ariyo final journey began Thursday July 30th, 2020 with service of Songs at his large spacious residence at Atuwatse close Ubeji, Warri Delta State with some Warri Chiefs, children of Prince Ariyo, friends and well wishers paying tributes including Hon. Chief Dr. Joseph Otumara who revealed that “it was Papa that helped me become a medical Doctor that i am today” as well as others who eulogized him with their various inspiring tributes.

Late Prince Ariyo was interred Saturday August 1, 2020 the event attracted Warri Chiefs including the Ologbotsere, Chief Ayirimi Emami (the Warri Kingdom Traditional Prime Minister) Chief Gabriel Awala who is the Uwangue of Warri Kingdom, Chief Johnson Yemiete, Chief Francis Omatseye, Chief Akoma, Chief Clement Maleghemi, Chief Olley, Chief *__Winifred__* Agbejule , Chief Michael Odeli and academic scholar/ university don, Prof. Lucky Lucky Afinotan among other top government functionaries across party lines.

Delivering his sermon at the outing service Sunday August 2, 2020 at Triumphant Family Baptist Church, the minister in charge Rev. Oghanranjebi Oritsebemigho Emmanuel, charged Christians and the children to serve God right always like their father Prince Ariyo did while on earth, he as well urged them to remain united for God loves a united family.

Rev. Ogharanjebi noted that Pa Ariyo was a voice in the Church hence his contributions as Auditor, Men Missionary Union, MMU Warri Baptist Association will not be forgotten for a long time to come, he prayed for the children to do more than their father as well as protect and preserve the wife Mrs. Margret Malomo Ariyo. (Nee Afinotan).

While in a remark on behalf of the family, Children and close family associates Chief Robinson Ariyo Esq. who is the Egogo of Warri Kingdom assured that the labour and good legacies of their father shall never be in vain even after his demise, adding that their father, Prince Ariyo is one of the few Men since over 500 years old Warri Kingdom to have witnessed the conferment of chieftaincy title on his son while alive, he state further that their Daddy has given them parental guidance, Chief Ariyo described their father as a lovely man with a good heart and that he lives on, noting thus “you can’t spell Good without God”

Chief Ariyo Esq. noted “My father was my debate partner we debated local, National and international issues I seek solace that he lived a good live he was a humble man I learnt a lot from him” He posited.

Late Pa. Samson Ariyo was aged 84, he is survived by a Wife, Mrs. Margret Malomo Ariyo (Nee Afinotan), 6 (Six) Children, including; Frank Kaneye Ariyo, Chief Robinson Oritsemuminogho Ariyo Esq., Patience Esinmijemijerioma Hamilton (Nee Ariyo), Luke Esanye Ariyo, Olarenwaju Ariyo and Anthony Ariyo as well as eight (8) grand children , brothers, sisters and other too numerous relations.

“We did not spend N13bn on school feeding programme – Sadiya Umar Farouq

…Home Grown School feeding was not a sole decision of the ministry

…124,589 households impacted between May 14 and July 6, 2020

…At N4, 200 per take Home Ration the total figure for impacting 124,589 households is N523,273,800
…FG provided funding while states implemented

Abuja- 03/08/20:

The Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has given a comprehensive response to speculations and fake news circulating around sums purportedly spent daily on the provision of take home rations under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme.

The Honourable Minister made the clarifications while speaking on Monday August 3, 2020 at the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force.

“In recent days, there have been rumours and innuendos and speculations around one of our key interventions; the Home Grown School Feeding Programme which was modified and implemented in two states and the FCT following a March 29th Presidential directive… It is critical at this juncture to provide details that will help puncture the tissue of lies being peddled in the public space.”

The minister then went ahead to explain the rationale behind the modified home grown school feeding programme, the process of engagement and how it was funded.

“The provision of Take Home rations under the modified Home Grown School Feeding Programme was not a SOLE initiative of the federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. The ministry in obeying the Presidential directive went into consultations with state governments through the Nigeria Governors’ Forum following which it was resolved that Take Home Rations remained the most viable option for feeding children during the lock down. So, it was a joint resolution of the ministry and the state governments to give out Take Home Rations and the stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states as pilot cases.

Each Take Home Ration is valued at N4,200 and that figure was not arrived at without proper consultation. It was not invented.

According to statistics from the NBS and CBN, a typical household in Nigeria has 5.6 to 6 members in its household, with 3 to 4 regarded as dependent and so each household is assumed to have 3 children. Now based on the original design of the Home Grown School Feeding Programme long before it was domiciled in the ministry, every child on the programme receives a meal a day. The meal costs N70 per child. When you take 20 school days per month it means a child eats food worth N1,400 per month. 3 children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month. That was how we arrived at the cost of the Take Home Ration.”

Speaking further, Sadiya Umar Farouq, noted that the programme has launched in only two states; Lagos and Ogun plus the FCT.

“In the FCT 29,609 households were impacted; Lagos recorded 37,589 households while Ogun state was 60,391 households making a total of 124,589 households impacted between May 14, 2020 and July 6, 2020. If 124,589 households received Take Home Rations valued at N4,200 the total figure will be N523,273,800. And note this was not spent daily. The FCT commenced first, followed by Lagos before Ogun state. It was not DAILY.”

The Honourable Minister also clarified that she never said “every Nigerian has received palliatives.” “What I said is that every state government in Nigeria has received palliatives for onward distribution to the poorest of the poor in their states.”

While noting that her ministry will not be deterred from fulfilling its mandate, the honourable minister also pointed out that very few government programmes have received “such high level of self-imposed scrutiny” with the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, DSS and a host of NGOs invited to monitor the home grown school feeding programme.

Abia Govt release schools resumption timetable

Further to the recommendation of education stakeholders in the state to resume academic activities on the 10th of August, 2020, to enable exit students take part in local and international examinations, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has directed that primary and secondary schools in the state reopen on Tuesday, 4th August, 2020, to ensure that teachers, relevant education and health authorities put in place necessary measures prior to resumption of full academic activities.

The timeline for activities leading to the return of students in exit classes for academic activities on the 10th of August, 2020, are as follows:

1. Monday, 3rd August, 2020

a. Mobilization of leaders of fumigation teams in all the 17 LGAs of the State with each team including, at least, 3 environmental officers from the state ministry of environment and local governments to coordinate and monitor the fumigation exercise in all public primary and secondary schools in the state.

b. Private companies in the state engaged in fumigation business are hereby invited to a meeting at the International Conference Center, Umuahia, by 10am. They are to come with their operational equipment for display, review and possible approval to participate in the exercise.

c. All LGA Transition Council Chairmen and their education secretaries are also invited to attend the meeting at the International Conference Center.

2. Tuesday, 4th August, 2020

a. All schools in the state will reopen with Head and other teachers expected to resume in their various schools to commence a dry run for the resumption of academic activities. They are also expected to attend school from thence till the conclusion of examinations for exit classes in both primary and secondary schools.

b. The state ministry of health, in partnership with the ministry of education, is to commence sample collection and testing for COViD-19 of all head teachers, teachers and all those expected to be part of the management of the relevant examinations in our public and private schools. Only those who test negative to the virus will be expected to continue attending classes or interacting with students and others involved in the management of the examinations.

c. Head teachers and others are expected to monitor the clearing, cleaning and fumigation exercises in the various schools and send reports through the relevant education secretaries in the 17 LGAs to the Honorable Commissioner for Education latest by 10am on the 5th of August, 2020.

3. Wednesday, 5th August, 2020

a. Head teachers are to provide hand washing stations in all the schools as well as ensure that sick bays and isolation areas are readied prior to resumption of students.

b. The ministry of education is to provide detailed readiness evaluation report covering all primary and secondary schools in the State to the Governor for review.

c. State ministry of health, in partnership with the ministry of education, is expected to deliver pocket and table hand sanitizers, face masks and digital thermometers provided by the state government to all public schools in the state for free distribution to students, teachers and examination supervisors.

4. Thursday & Friday, 6th & 7th August, 2020

The state ministry of health is expected to conclude the teaching and training of all teachers on COVID-19 protocols as well as set up relevant monitoring teams that will ensure full compliance.

Finally, the Governor directs that all private primary and secondary schools in the state ensure compliance with the resumption regulations or risk immediate closure.

Thank you.

Chief John Okiyi Kalu
Honorable Commissioner for Information, Abia State
1st August, 2020.

Enugu govt flags off decontamination of schools ahead of resumption

The Enugu State Government, on Friday, flagged off comprehensive decontamination and fumigation of secondary schools in the state, ahead of resumption of academic activities.

The exercise is being carried out by the State Fire Service, led by its Chief Fire Officer, Engr. Okwudiri Ohaa.

It would be recalled that Enugu State Government, on March 24, 2020, closed all educational institutions in the state, as part of proactive measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The state government directed all public officers/civil servants to work from home till further notice, except those on essential services, and has been paying them salaries, including the teachers, as and when due, since then.

Briefing newsmen shortly after the flag off, which took place at Queen’s School Enugu, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eze, who monitored the exercise alongside the Chairman of Post Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB) Barr. Nestor Ezeme, said that it was Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s directives that “all our schools, classrooms, dormitories and school premises should be decontaminated and fumigated in preparation for resumption”.

Prof. Eze disclosed that “this is to ensure that when the students and teachers are back to schools, they will be safe to learn in conducive environment”.

The commissioner added that the exercise will take place in all the schools and will be completed on or before the evening of Monday, August 3, 2020.

He pointed out that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration has utilized the four months of break in academic activities “in renovation and expansion of our school facilities to ensure that we have enough space for our children to maintain social distancing when they return to schools.

“In fact, a few days ago, His Excellency himself moved round schools to inspect our state of readiness and this decontamination and fumigation exercise, which is very important, is going to be the last stage of our preparation”, Prof. Eze said.

Also speaking, the PPSMB Chairman, Barr. Ezeme, added that “our education friendly Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi during the four months of lockdown had paid our teachers, totaling 11,000 in number their salaries, from the 22nd to the 23rd of every month”.

He said that the teachers are coming back to schools, ready and much energized, expressing optimism that their output will be maximized.

In his speech, the State Chief Fire Officer, Engr. Ohaa stated that the decontamination and fumigation exercise will be carried out simultaneously in about 297 secondary schools, saying: “We are sure that on or before evening of Monday, we will complete it”.

Engr. Ohaa revealed that the state fire service offices at different local government areas have been mobilized to carry out the exercise, reassuring that the schools will be ready “for students and their teachers to be safe when they return”.

He maintained that the Enugu State government has been consistent with the decontamination of its public places since the outbreak of COVID-19, stressing that “there is no other state that is as consistent as Enugu State”.

Appreciating Gov. Ugwuanyi’s efforts towards enhancing the standard of education in the state as well as the welfare and safety of the students and their teachers, the Principal of Queen’s School Enugu, Mrs. Ada Nweke, said that the teachers will ever remain grateful to the governor for his commitment and good works in the education sector and beyond.

COVID-19: Abia Students To Resume August 10

Final year students in Abia State may soon go back to school, as stakeholders in the state education sector are considering August 10, 2020, for reopening of schools to enable students in exit classes prepare and write their examinations.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the state governor on Media, Mr. Enyinnaya Appolos, said this was the outcome of a one-day summit held at the Government House in Umuahia, the state capital, where it was agreed that the planned school reopening was subject to verifiable compliance with all the proposed COVID-19 protocols, prevention and control measures.

In his opening remarks at the summit, the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, insisted that while the state was desirous of ensuring its high flying students resume classes as quickly as possible, he maintained that his administration would not sacrifice the health of the children for anything.

He said: “We must find a balance between ensuring that they continue to enjoy good health and protection from this virus and continuing their education. I therefore urge all of us to take responsibility for our protection from this virus as well as the protection of our children and loved ones. Our lives cannot stop because of this virus, but we must take necessary measures to protect ourselves and loved ones from the pandemic.”

Addressing journalists after the summit, the Secretary to Abia State Government (SSG), Mr. Chris Ezem, listed some of the agreed pre-conditions to include clearing of school premises, decontamination/fumigation, provision of sick bays with relevant medical staff, compulsory provision of digital thermometers and hand washing stations as well as maintenance of social distance with maximum of 20 students in each classroom.

Ezem said the measures applied to both public and private schools in the state.

He also listed other conditions to include ban on gatherings among the students and ban on food vendors in the schools, however, assuring the state that the government would provide original pocket-size hand sanitizers for all the school children in the exit classes.

Head teachers were also directed to ensure that the students spend a minimum of 10 minutes daily to learn about COVID-19 and its prevention and control measures, while also charging parents to ensure that their children have and wear face masks to school always.

BREAKING: Nigerian govt announces NECO, NCEE, NABTEB exam dates

The Federal Government says the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) organised by the National Examination Council (NECO) for SS3 pupils will commence on October 5.

The examination will end on November 18, 2020.

Also, National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) examinations will start on September 21.

It will end on October 15, 2020.

Emeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State for Education, announced the dates at the end of a two-day meeting with Chief Executives of examination bodies.

Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Education (FMoE), Ben Goong, made the announcement.

Furthermore, the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) into Unity Colleges will hold on October 17, 2020.

The Basic Education Certificate Examinations, (BECE) for JSS 3 pupils also conducted by NECO, will start on August 24 and end on September 7, 2020.

However, registration for the NECO (SSCE), which is on-going, will end on the 10 of September, 2020 with no option of extension.

SCHOOL RESUMPTION: Abia to hold Education Summit tomorrow

The Executive Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, has approved the convocation of a special summit on education to deliberate on modalities for reopening of public and private schools in the state to enable our exit class students in primary and secondary schools as well as final year students of tertiary institutions write their relevant local and international examinations.

Based on the foregoing, the following stakeholders are hereby invited to attend the summit holding at the Michael Okpara Auditorium of Government House, Umuahia, on Thursday, 30th July, 2020 at 11am prompt:

1. State Chairmen of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) and Association of Primary School Heads of Nigeria ( AOPSHON)

2. Three representatives of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Abia Chapter, drawn from the 3 senatorial zones of the state

3. Three representatives of National Association of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN) drawn from the 3 senatorial zones of the state.

4. Presidents of Students Union Government of State owned tertiary institutions

5. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education

6. Acting Executive Secretary, Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) and the Deputy Executive Secretaries

7. Acting Chairman, Abia State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB)

8. The EXecutive Secretary, Hospitals Management Board (HMB)

9. The Executive Secretary, Abia State Primary Health Care Development Agency

10. State Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA)

11. Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Abia State Chapter

12. The Registrar, Examination Development Commission

13. Rectors of all Colleges and Polytechnics in Abia State

14. The Vice Chancellor, Abia State University (ABSU), Uturu

15. The Chairman, Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers and his Deputies

16. The Honorable Commissioners for Education, Finance, Health, Justice, Works, Local Government and Information.

17. Chairman, Abia State House of Assembly Committee on Education

18. Chief of Staff to the Governor

19. Secretary to the State Government

20. The Deputy Governor of Abia State

All the invitees must be seated before the arrival of the Governor as well as ensure strict compliance to all relevant COVID-19 protocols.

Thank you.

Chief John Okiyi Kalu
Honorable Commissioner for Information, Abia State