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Extortion Rocks Junior School Cert Exam In Imo – Enraged Education Commissioner vows to punish culprits

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A large scale extortion of candidates in the ongoing Basic Education Certificate Examination (a.k.a. Junior WAEC) by those charged with the supervision of the examination in Imo State, has been exposed

Following public outcry, especially by parents of students involved in the examinations, who were shocked they were being demanded between N200 to N500 each examination day for their children and wards to “settle” their supervisor, THE LEADER embarked on a fact-finding tour of parts of the state including Isiala Mbano, Onuimo, Ehime Mbano, Ideato North and Ideato South Local Government Areas and made telephone contacts with Orlu, Oru West, Ihite-Uboma and Ikeduru LGAs.

Investigations in three schools visited in Isiala Mbano – Aquinas Secondary School Osu, Umuduru Community Secondary School and Comprehensive Secondary School Mbeke, revealed that for every paper, a student paid N100, N150 or N200, depending on the school and the supervisor, who is at liberty to fix his or her price.

Situation was the same at Cor Maria Secondary School Urualla, Ideato North, Umuezealama Secondary School, Ehime Mbano, Umuna Secondary School, Onuimo LGA and Okohia Secondary School Isiala Mbano.

Students of the schools visited who spoke on condition of anonymity were unanimous in the name ascribed to the bribe.  They called it “signing fee”, which implies money paid to the supervisor to induce him or her to append her signature that would authenticate the examination and also individual answer scripts.

Another common factor as expressed by the students interviewed from most of the state was that two subjects, English Language

and Mathematics said to be core subjects attracted special charges ranging from N200 to N500 each.

When THE LEADER sought to know the fate of any student that defaults payment, one of the students said “you will be either isolated from fellow students or put in a lonely place where you will be denied all attention.  You will be thoroughly harassed such that you cannot concentrate to write the exams; while those who paid would be helped and pampered.  Infact you can’t resist it”.

The pupils expressed regret that the amount charged was too much for them as junior students. “If it was like fifty Naira ok”, one of the children said.  Another expressed fear for the future, saying, “If they forced us to pay this much in Junior WAEC only, God knows how much we will pay in Senior WAEC.”

In an interview,  a retired civil servant, Mr. Austin Onwu wondered what lesson the teachers would impact on the young students by their nefarious activity as they were expected to be role models for the students.  For Mrs. Caro Dike, any worker in Imo State school system who engages in such a malpractice smacks of ingratitude to the Okorocha administration which according to the trader has raised teachers to a glorious height.  A Government Liaison Officer for an autonomous community in Ehime Mbano said the development portends danger for the future and likened it to “planting and watering corruption in the nursery”.

The Director Education Commission, Catholic Diocese of Okigwe, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Cajetan Ehiem described the development as a vicious circle.  He said his initial findings zeroed down to the allegations that Supervisors paid bribes to be posted to the schools hence they strive to recover their expenses through exploiting the students.  He  attributed the malaise to greed and advised teachers to live up to their calling.

When contacted, the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) Owerri, Sir C.O.E. Chukwu said urgent action would be taken to nab the perpetrators of the scandalous act.

Meanwhile, the State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Mrs. Adaobi Obasi said her ministry would investigate the incident thoroughly and will not delay in doing this.

The Commissioner who was visibly angry and furious over the allegation vowed to punish anybody involved in the incident no matter his or her rank in the teaching profession.

She expressed regret that after all that Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has done to improve the welfare of teachers and restore sanity in the education sub-sector, some corrupt elements are making a mess of all the efforts.

 

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USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas

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USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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