John Adams, Minna
The ongoing Niger State Civil Servants Screening Committee says it has uncovered about 80 per cent of teaching staff in the State Ministry of Education to have entered the service with forged certificates.
The Niger State Ministry of Education has over 45,000 teaching staff in its employ in both primary and secondary schools.
The majority of the fake certificates, the committee said, bear the name of the state-owned College of Education, Minna, obtained and in use for over 15 years.
The Chairman of the Screening Committee and State Commissioner for Works, Engineer Ibrahim Mohammed Panti, confirmed this during a live radio programme monitored in Minna, the state capital.
The principal actor of the syndicate responsible for the printing and issuance of the fake certificates of the state College of Education (COE), Minna, has been arrested by the Niger State Police Command, Panti said.
Panti further disclosed that five members of staff of the institution are already helping the police in their investigation and have made useful statements as investigation is ongoing.
The Commissioner said the suspected printer had admitted during interrogation that he had printed and sold an unspecified number of such fake certificates to many students which they have used and are still using to secure employment within and outside the State.
Most of those with the fake certificates cannot write their names correctly, nor can they communicate in simple English, the Commissioner said
‘The screening had been so revealing as 80 per cent staff of the state Ministry of Education are not genuinely certificated,’ the Commissioner disclosed.
‘During the exercise, many of them could not even write their names and could not also speak correct English.
‘Most of them are teachers and one would wonder the type of knowledge they would have been imparting on the students,’ the Commissioner lamented.
Engineer Panti declared that all those involved have been sacked and will be replaced as soon as possible with those having genuine certificates.
‘All the vacancies are going to be filled with people with genuine certificates.
‘The essence of the screening is to determine the actual staff strength of our workers and block all wastages through over bloated salaries.
‘Certainly, the final outcome of the screening will be beneficial to our graduates because many of them genuinely certificated will be employed,’ the Commissioner assured.
Engineer Panti disclosed that he and other members of the Screening Committee had received several threats from some unidentified individuals suspected to be involved in the fraud; but he assured that the committee will not be deterred from carrying out a thorough job to sanitise the system.
The revelations come barely two weeks after the Chairman of State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Isa Adamu, revealed that about 1,500 teaching staff at the state primary school system have been discovered to have entered the service with fake certificates.
He also disclosed that these categories of staff can neither write nor read, and many, he said, have been in the service for years.
This he said was the outcome of the report of a committee constituted in June to unravel and establish the exact number of personnel in the State’s payroll.
While presenting the report, the Chairman of committee, Alhaji Ayuba Usman Katako, explained that out of over 28,000 teaching staff, only 26,000 showed up for the screening exercise, adding that about 1,500 of them are with fake certificates.