Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja
Disturbed by the frivolous allegations against the Kogi State Government, the executive chairman of the state parastatal, STETSCOM, has reacted to the allegation of stoppage of WEAC fees by Natasha Okpoti-Uduaghan campaign council against the state government over imaginary stoppage of the fees.
This was contained in a statement signed by Mrs. Cecilia E. Cook, a copy of which was made available to journalists in Lokoja yesterday.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to reports making the round in the media that Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya
Bello, allegedly stopped the payment of N5million WAEC and NECO grant by one Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan for students in Kogi Central senatorial district.
“We wouldn’t have condescended so low to reply her cooked lies, but for the interest of innocent Nigerians, particularly residents of Kogi State and the Central senatorial district, we will like to set the record straight.
“Kogi State Government through my office has never stopped anyone from paying WAEC and NECO fees, including JAMB.”
Recall that the member representing Yagba federal constituency, Hon. Leke Abejide, had for years been paying millions of naira for WAEC and NECO fees for secondary schools in his federal constituency of which he recently extended the gesture to Kabba/Bunu Ijumu federal constituency.
“He was not stopped because the present administration believes that carrying the responsibility of the education sector will be too much on the government, hence several calls for individuals to assist where necessary and the introduction of the School Adoption and Mentorship Programme.
“Apart from Hon. Abejide, some well-meaning persons in the state, including the Auditor General for Local Government, Usman Ododo, political office holders as well as alumni associations of secondary schools have been offsetting WAEC and NECO fees for many students and the government has not stopped anyone from doing so.
“Ododo particularly donated 11,000 Chemistry and Physics textbooks worth millions of naira to all secondary schools in the state.
“It is important to state that offsetting these fees is a good way of reducing the effect of the economy on our people as the state government is appreciative of this effort. In fact, funding of education in world is a collective responsibility and it comes in different ways.
“From the foregoing, we see the claim by Natasha as a calculated attempt to score cheap political popularity at the expense of the future of our students. This is no doubt a desperation taken too far.
“The memo that my office issued to zonal directors and principals of public and Grant Aided Schools is for them to obtain clearance from the commission for any internal or external programme. How does that translate to the off-point issue being raised here?”
He stated that: “We are amased that Natasha could twist this memo to get political popularity. This is unfortunate and misleading for a personality that is seeking a public office.
“Very unfortunately too, she used the media to peddle operation misinformation, disinformation, fake news and lies. We urge the media to verify facts before going to the press to avoid dissemination of fake news.”