The Federal Government has been asked to swiftly arrest and punish officials of the National Examination Council (NECO) and the Federal Ministry of Education indicted of running special centres to corruptly compromise examination procedures and standards.
The call was made on Wednesday by the Chairman, Board of Directors, Kingsville Schools, Engr. Olusegun Okebiorun during a radio program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG.
Engr. Okebiorun’s reaction is coming on the heels of series of an investigative report published by SIGNATURE TV exposing how NECO officials, external examiners, school proprietors and officials of the Ministry of Education conspire to post candidates to special centres, negotiate fees to allow non-candidates to sit exams for absentee candidates at the detriment of the education system in Nigeria.
According to him the existence of so many special centres is a reflection of numerous evil in society and in the education sector. He, however, expressed his dissatisfaction with the government’s lackadaisical approach in apprehending and punishing officials indicted of committing examination fraud in the investigation.
His words: “Government should stand up and take action on this crime, anybody found guilty should be tried and if found guilty, should be convicted and punished. I’ve said it when you don’t punish criminals, crime will continue to thrive.
“A proprietor who was directly involved in such a thing, you take him to the court and convict him, he goes to jail; others in that shoe will stand firm, that is the only solution,” Okebiorun stressed.
He added that the consequences of corruption and falling standards of education in Nigeria are one of the reasons few university graduates nowadays don’t have much to offer in the labour market, while a large number of them are not employable.
He blamed parents for patronizing, collaborating, and partnering with operators of special exams centres in their quest to see their wards get through school quickly even if it means cutting corners.
Similarly, Chief Operating Officer at SIGNATURE TV, Chief Nwabueze Njoku, besides joining the call for corrupt officials at NECO and Ministry of Education to be brought to book noted that arresting culprits of the corruption in the investigation was a very big challenge.
Chief Njoku revealed that after spending over eight months on the investigation, SIGNATURE TV was still unable to have an audience with the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, despite his office officially receiving letters to that effect, adding that a staff of the ministry he interacted with was very unperturbed that the report could attract punitive action against officials of the ministry indicted by the report.
While noting that special exam centres are scattered all over the country, he disclosed that plans are underway to surmount the poor response from the government following the investigations.
“We are designing a conference to which we will invite the Commissioners of Education. We are moving ahead to ICPC and Human Rights Commission because exposing these children to fraud is abusing their right to decent education and we want to escalate it as a national problem.
“The reflection of every child is a reflection of family value. Parents who cheat and cut corners always lead their children astray so this is a challenge, resolving it is right from the family is key,” Njoku said.
The syndicated radio program is produced by PRIMORG with the support from the MACARTHUR FOUNDATION
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