By Ike Uchechukwu
Cross River State House of Assembly, CRSHA, has resolved the rift between the state chapter of Nigeria Union of Teachers NUT and the State Universal Basic Education Board SUBEB and directed the latter to continue with its personnel audit of teachers in the state primary school sector.
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State The Speaker of the Assembly, Hon John Lebo, had penultimate week set up a special committee headed by Hon. Okpechi Friday to reconcile the warring NUT and SUBEB.
It was gathered that as part of the committee’s resolution, the Board was mandated not to hesitate to demote teachers with verified fake certificates, who may have enjoyed promotions over the years, back to their original level of first appointment with genuine results while those with fake certificates should face outright dismissal.
The exercise, it would be recalled had already been conducted in nine out of the 18 local governments covering the Northern and Central Senatorial districts of the state and had “uncovered over 200 hundred teachers with fake certificates, ghost teachers, dead teachers as well as house to bank teachers,” before it was suspended by the assembly.
The committee chaired by Hon. Okpechi Friday, last week, ordered as part of its resolutions that SUBEB should go back to the field to complete the work it started. It also declared that all issues that provoked the rift between the NUT and SUBEB had been resolved.
While calling on SUBEB to announce new dates and time for the continuation of the personnel audit exercise in the remaining LGAs, the committee cautioned that teachers should be given fair hearing adding that their respect and dignity should be accorded them during the exercise. It further directed that the SUBEB Chairman should return seized original certificates to their rightful owners.
“Sufficient and timely radio/television announcements should be made to inform teachers of the requirements necessary for the smooth conduct of the exercise and the panel should not request for school fees receipt as prerequisite for screening,” the committee stated.
The Okpeche led committee also told the SUBEB chairman to immediately constitute a fresh screening panel to include NUT, ALGON and the Ministry of Education. It also called on SUBEB to announce soft landing for those with fake certificates to surrender them or face dismissal.
“The board should announce amnesty or give a time frame for fake certificate holders to surrender such certificates to the screening panel or face the consequence of dismissal if the panel on its own verifies that such certificates tendered are forged,” it noted.
On his part, the Commissioner for Education, Hon Goddy Etta lauded the thorough job so far carried out by SUBEB adding that all hands must be on deck to move the educational sector of the state to its rightful position.
“We must give our children the platform and foundation to compete favourably with their peers from other parts of the country. Supervision and monitoring is paramount to achieve success in our school system, I am asking the governor to declare a state of emergency in our educational sector because our ranking and performance is really poor,” he said.
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