Wike berates education ministry over illegal levies

    • Vows to sanction erring officials, principals 
      By NWADIKE UGOCHUKWU, Port Harcourt

    Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State has berated  officials of the State Ministry  of Education  for  failing to utilize the Ministry’s monthly  overhead judiciously, thereby passing unnecessary  financial  burden  to  less privileged parents  in the state.
    The governor, therefore, directed the State Commissioner of Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr Patricia Ogbonnaya and the State Director of Secondary Education, Mrs. Mae Solomon, to offer written explanation on the funds collected illegally from parents.
    Speaking during a meeting with Principals of Public Secondary Schools in the state, Governor Wike also directed principals of public secondary schools to provide written explanations on how they spent unapproved levies collected from parents. The principals are expected to submit their written reports on Friday to the office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor. 
    Wike stated that after the written explanations, Ministry officials and principals found culpable will be disciplined. “I hereby direct the Commissioner for Education, the Permanent Secretary and the Director of Education to within the next four hours provide written explanations on the issue of the collection of unapproved levies.
    “Tabulate the monies collected. How much was collected? How much got to the Education Ministry? How much was left with the principals? 1 If this is not done, all of you will be suspended. 
    “Also, explain how much levies are being charged the students and to which account are the monies paid to. Who is the approving authority of such an account?”
    The governor said that he will commence a cleansing process in the Ministry of Education and the public schools to reposition them for greater performance. 
    He said: “I will not spare anyone involved in defrauding our parents “.
    Wike said that since assuming office, he has been releasing monthly overhead to all Ministries, which was suspended by the immediate administration in the state.
    In his remarks, Education Commissioner, Professor Kaniye Ebeku, noted that majority of the 534 public secondary school principals in the state were in attendance.
    Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr. Patricia Ogbonnaya, and the Director of Secondary Education, Mrs Mae Solomon, explained that they arrived at the levies following meetings held by the top civil servants, Nigerian Union of Teachers and All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) of the Ministry during the immediate past administration. 
    They said that no formal memorandum has been written to Governor Wike to seek his approval for the levies charged.
    President of ANCOPSS in Rivers State, Mr. Austin Iroegbu commended Governor Wike for his investments in education.