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KOGI State Government’s recent directive that indigenes intending to sit for the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination should pay and bring their receipts was meant to check fraudulent practices, Governor Idris Wada has said.
Speaking during his inspection tour of ongoing projects, Wada explained that genuine candidates would be refunded, as this was only a corrective measure to checkmate all loopholes through which the state was being fleeced by wicked individuals.
Meanwhile, God’s Care Mission Incorporated, Okpo, has concluded plans to establish another private conventional university in the state to further boost the country’s educational and human resources development.
According to a statement made available to The Guardian in Lokoja over the weekend, the Etutekpe-based new institution, Evergreen University, will target correcting the imbalance in the quality of graduates from the nation’s universities.
The statement, jointly signed by the chairman of the institution’s groundbreaking ceremony, Mr. Dickson Itodo, and publicity committee chairman, Mr. Paul Omale, indicated that one-time Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, would chair the occasion while Governor Wada would be the special guest.
The Attah Igala, Michael Ameh-Oboni II, will be the royal father while Rev. Samson Ajetumobi would be guest speaker.
Nevertheless, as indigenes, especially the rural poor are unable to raise the fee, he has promised to look into the issue once again. He stated: “We discovered there was manipulation in the list and the amount we had to pay was increasing astronomically every year.
“At a point, we had to stop the fraudulent practices and say that parents should pay and bring their receipts and get their refunds. We have not stopped paying, we only wanted to be sure that they are all authenticated before we release the money to those who paid. For those who cannot afford the payment at all, we will find a way to sort their issue.”
Government’s decision to stop the payment had made things difficult for the poor students and their parents, especially those in the rural areas, who might as well forego the exams. The governor had told political appointees earlier that the WAEC fees had been inflated by some people.
According to him, when he assumed leadership in 2012, N270 million was paid as WAEC fees for the students, while in 2013, the it jumped to over N300 million, and is now about N500 million, adding that the state does not have that kind of money to fund irregularities.
Wada noted: “I am convinced that the figure they are giving us was inflated and we cannot be throwing money away because we have a lot of development (projects) to carry out.”
He said it was unfortunate that people entrusted with such responsibility turned around and were now manipulating the system for their selfish interest instead of serving the people.