Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja
The Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan Campaign Organisation has alleged that Kogi State government under the leadership of governor Yahaya Bello has stopped private individuals from paying WAEC fees of students in the state.
But the Executive Chairman of Kogi State Science, Technical Education and Teaching Service Commission, Mrs. Cecilia E. Cook has denied that the Commission had stopped the payment of WAEC fees by private individuals wanting to assist secondary school students,
The campaign organisation alleged that the directive came few days after the Kogi Central Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan promised to offset WAEC fees of students in Kogi Central senatorial district.
“In a letter by the Executive Chairman of Kogi State Science, Technical Education and Teaching Service Commission, Hon. Cecilia E. Cook, the state government said it took the decision because of the insecurity situation in the country.
“The state government warned that any secondary school principal who fails to comply with the instruction will be shown the way out.
It quoted a letter from the government to have stated: “All principals of public and grant aided schools must obtain permission from the commission for any internal or external programme.
“As a result of the security situation in our nation, all the STETSCOM Zonal directors are directed to inform all the principals in their respective zones, that students’ participation in Zonal programme outside their schools and external programme outside the state is strictly on permission by the authority of STETSCOM.
“The Zonal Directors should sternly warn the Principals in their zone, that should any Principal defaulted this instruction, he or she will certainly and surely be shown the way out. Strictly comply with this instruction, please.”
Akpoti -Uduaghan had on December 11, 2022, decided to donate N5 million to offset WAEC fees of students in Kogi Central to help parents cushion the burden of paying the WAEC fees of their children in the five local government areas of Kogi Central senatorial distinct.
The Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan Campaign Organisation noted that the decision of Kogi State government to stop the payment of WAEC fees because of security reason was baseless and an attempt to further punish the students whose parents have been denied of their salaries and could not pay their children’s WAEC fees.
But in a swift reaction, Cook said the Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan Campaign Organisation was misleading members of the public.
Cook disclosed this in a chat with journalists in Lokoja.
She explained that the decision was taken by the Commission to protect students from traveling outside the state for activities like debate and quiz competition without the knowledge of the Commission.