31 Cross River principals indicted in WAEC exam fee scandal

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The Commissioner for Education in Cross River State, Dr Stephen Odey, stated that out of 37 school principals who faced a disciplinary committee, 31 were found guilty, while only six were cleared of wrongdoing.

This comes after the Cross River State Executive Council approved the payment of West African Examinations Council (WAEC) fees for 16,301 public school students from the state.

The Nigerian Tribune reported that the state government covered the costs, totalling N440,127,000, for students taking the Senior Secondary School Certificate exams to alleviate economic hardship.

Gov Otu’s directive violated

The Governor, Prince Bassey Otu, strongly cautioned against unethical practices like school officials padding in compiling beneficiary lists.

Despite instructions to only submit the names of indigenous students to the Ministry of Education’s Director of Examinations and Certificates, some schools in the state disregarded this directive.

According to Odey, speaking at a press briefing, certain principals submitted lists containing both indigenous and non-indigenous names.

Additionally, 64 names were duplicates out of 16,301, resulting in a total of 16,237 verified candidates.

He said, “Recommendations were made by the disciplinary committee that those principals found culpable should be relieved of their duties/appointments, while some will be demoted to classroom teachers.”

Odey highlighted the urgent need for teacher recruitment, emphasising his suggestion to the governor to swiftly hire 6,000 secondary school teachers.

“I have written to the governor for the promotion of teachers. Governor should grant us approval to employ 6,000 teachers and we have also written to the governor to release funds from 2024 budget so that we can start implementing some projects in schools. We stand to reform the state education sector holistically,” he said.

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