By Aderogba George
Abuja – The Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) has condemned the suspension of Mrs Vero Igbigwe, the Head Teacher of Okotie-Eboh Primary School, Sapele, Delta State.
Mr Frank Tietie, the Executive Director of CASER, a Civil Society Organisatgion (CSO) stated this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Igbigwe was suspended by the ministry for allegedly collecting illegal fees from pupils of the school.
The CSO described the suspension of as “a cheap diversion from the Delta State Government’s failure to provide free qualitative basic education.’’
It said the Head Teacher was used as scapegoat since there was evidence that heads of schools across the state had been authorised by the government to collect certain fees and levies from pupils.
It added that the suspension was poor response of the government to the unfortunate situation that brought to the forefront, the failures of the past and present officials of the state ministry of education.
It said in spite of the huge average income of N20 billion that the state earned monthly, the state of public schools in Delta State was “worrisome; and called for urgent intervention.
CASER also urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to wade into the alleged corrupt activities of officials of the Delta State Ministry of Education.
It called on the EFCC to prosecute any past and present official of the ministry found culpable in the mismanagement of funds meant for the maintenance of public schools in the state.
“A serious government would immediately declare a state of emergency in the education sector after apologising for its negligence.
“Such an application of a face saver in the midst of serious issues of criminal neglect of public schools infrastructure is not a responsible action by any serious government that wants to change its approach to the handling of its responsibility,’’ the CSO said.
It said that if EFCC refused to carry out the investigation, CASER would be forced to approach the court for an order of Mandamus compelling it to carry out the investigation.
It said that CASER’s call for an investigation was to promote the right of Nigerian children to quality education since there were available resources to guarantee such.
The Delta State Government had in a recent statement, vowed to deal with any official who engaged in acts that undermined the good intentions of the government.
It restated the Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration’s commitment to the provision of quality education in the state’s public institutions.
It maintained that Delta State government would continue to run free education; and anyone who jeorpadised these efforts would face the appropriate sanctions. (NAN)