Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The hammer of Delta State government has fallen on six principals of public secondary schools and nine other officials of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education over their alleged involvement in the collection of unauthorised levies from pupils and students.
Apart from sanctions ranging from demotion to re-deployment, the affected education official will have to refund the total sum collected so far from their pupils and students before they were nabbed.
Worst hit by this directive of the state government is the principal of Ogor Technical College, Otor-Ogor, Mr. Ishmael Omolade, who will have to refund N11,124,800.00 being unauthorised monies allegedly collected from students in 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 academic sessions.
Besides, Omolade, according to a statement by the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Patrick Ukah, has been posted to the headquarters of Technical and Vocational Education Board in Asaba, while normal disciplinary procedures are being initiated for his early exit from the service.
The statement which was made available in Asaba Wednesday disclosed that the sanctions were in line with the findings of a board of inquiry set up by the ministry whose reports have been approved by the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
Ukah said the principals of the five other technical colleges in the state were to be issued letters of warning for engaging in illegal collection of levies, adding that they were to refund the amounts collected from the students and examination candidates to them.
He said the Chief Inspector of Education in Sapele Local Government Area, Mrs. Patience Ishegbe, was to be recalled to the headquarters and queried, just as the Chief Inspector of Education for Oshimili North field office, Mrs. Marian Oju, and that of Isoko North field office, Mr. Fidelis Ogbotobo, have been recalled to the headquarters of the ministry in Asaba.
This is even as Mrs. Veronica Igbigwe have been removed as head teacher, demoted by one grade level and posted out of Okotie Eboh Primary School 1, Sapele, and also the exact amount of unauthorised levy collected should be determined for her to refund.
The sledge hammer did not spare the chairman and secretary of Association of Primary School Heads (AOPSHON), Sapele Local Government Area chapter, Mr. Obukohwo Victor Iguele and Mr. Akpore Umuhurhu, respectively, as they have been demoted by one rank/salary grade level and posted out of their present schools.
The duo was also barred from heading any school for the next two academic sessions, according to Mr. Ukah.
He said the Head of Personnel Management (HPM), Sapele Local Education Authority, Mrs. Irene Egberi, had not only been demoted by one grade level, but also posted to SUBEB headquarters, adding that Mr. Monday Edoki, who at the time of the committee report was a political appointee, should be disciplined and sanctioned on his return to his MDA.
Ukah added that the acting Head of Okotie Eboh Primary School 1, Sapele, Mr. Julius Bovi Mereti had been reverted back to his position as classroom teacher and posted out of the school.
The commissioner disclosed that the sanctions were the outcome of the first phase of the investigations carried out by the board of inquiry and with time more names would be released.
He said the state government would no longer condone the collection of unauthorised levies in public schools in the state.