By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
The West African Examination Council, (WAEC) is holding back the results of it’s just concluded May/June Senior Schools Certificates Examination, (SSCE) for 49,000 candidates from Niger State who sat for the examination over indebtedness by the state government to the examination body.
The fate of the candidates now hangs on the payment by the state government while parents and students lament the sour relationship between the state and the examination body.
The 49,000 candidates comprise of candidates who were students in both public and privetely owned schools across the state who sat for the last examinations conducted by the West African Examination Council, (WAEC).
Though the candidates had paid the mandatory examination fees in their respective schools who also remitted the monies to the state’s Ministry of Education for onward remittance to the examination body, the state utilised the monies and didn’t remit the money to WAEC.
The affected candidates who are looking forward to gaining admission into institutions of higher learning, are now denied access to their results which can affect their chances of gaining admission into tertiary institutions of their choices except the state government pays the N694 million debt to the examination body.
This scenerior is a replay of what happened last year where examination bodies had to withhold results of candidates from the state over unpaid monies appropriated by the state government for another purpose instead of remitting the monies collected from schools as the examination fees for candidates sitting for their schools certificate examinations.
The immediate past administration in the state had introduced the payment of the examination fees for final year students in schools across the state, (for both WAEC and NECO) to encourage scholarship and provide succour to parents especially the indigent ones whose wards were in secondary schools.
But the policy was reversed by the present administration in the state even as it introduced differential tuition fees for indigenes and non indigenes in all institutions of higher learning owned by the state.
This year, the administration in the state agreed to pay the SSCE fees for only 36,397 senior schools students who passed the mock examinations conducted by the state Ministry of Education out of the 48,715 candidates who sat for the said examination prelude to WAEC and the National Examination Council, (NECO).
Findings by our correspondent however revealed that even the examination fees for the 36,397 which the state promised to foot their bills, were not paid for. Beside this, about 12,000 other candidates whose participation in the WAEC examination was sponsored by their parents/guardians, are now affected by the state government’s non remittance of the N694 million to WAEC as the registration fees paid by the 49,000 candidates.
To recover their N694 million, the West African regional Examination body, (WAEC) resolved to withhold the results of all those who sat for the last SSCE from the state as measure that would compel the state government to promptly pay up the huge debt owed it.
Since the WAEC released the May/June examination results and made them public, pressure from parents across the state have been pilling up as parents and students raised issues over the “state government’s insincerity.”
Some of the parents who spoke to our correspondent on the matter, lamented the frustrations they and their wards have been subjected to in accessing their wards’ result with which they could pursue admission into any tertiary institution due to the failure of the state government to off-set the, N694 million debt.
In an interview, Niger State Commissioner for Education, Fatima Madugu, confirmed that the state government was indeed owing WAEC N694 million. She however quickly added that some money would be advanced to WAEC last Friday to ensure the immediate release of the results in question.
Madugu said that there was an understanding between WAEC and the state government for the payment of N30 million monthly. She assured that the debt would be paid in nstallments as agreed by the two of them.
Though she said the state would pay N30 to WAEC last Friday, sources within the examination body at the weekend told our correspondent in Minna that the state government had defaulted as no kobo was remitted to the examination body by the state government at the close of work on Friday.