Sapele – Delta state government has received hard knock after Mrs Veronica Igbigwe, the Headmistress of Okotie-Eboh primary school 1 in Sapele, Sapele local government area in Delta State, was suspended on Monday when the Commissioner for Education, Barr. Chiedu Ebie, visited the school.
The head teacher, according to the commissioner, could not explain the alleged illegal collection of examination levies from the school pupils after the viral video where a little Success Adegor was sent home over her parents’ failure to pay her examination levies.
However, Teachers, Parents and other persons has called for the reversal of the punishment, insisting that the illegal collection was an order from her superiors, and calling for same punishment to be melted out to all involved.
A source in the school who spoke to Advocate said it was wrong for Mrs Igbigwe to be suspended alone “it is obvious that the N900 was not her decision.
“The whole public primary schools here are collecting that exam levy, it was a joint decision taken by her superiors, why should only her be punished?” the source asked.
Mr Onovughe Moses, a retired head teacher of a private school, said “decisions are taken from the top, then passed down to be implemented by teachers at that level, so the decision to single her out for punishment was not a good one. Everyone should take responsibility for this extortion” he said.
While Oniovosan Patrick, a motorcycle rider and Mrs Rita Jeremiah are of the same opinion with Mr Oniovosan, a secondary school principal who craved anonymity said, “the commissioner, I am very sure knows these illegal extortion has been existing. How can he say, he is not aware that teachers collect illegal money from pupils. It’s an age long thing, unless he doesn’t want to say the truth. Let the Chief Inspector of Education in the LG be investigate, and the Education Secretary in the Local government too. Not just her, she is paying for sins of her seniors”
One of the aggrieved parents, who protested at the school gate yesterday, said, a list given to her child, who is in primary two, include, Broom, N200; Soap, N150; desk repair, N300; lesson fee, N500; padlock, N200.
She said, “I paid N800 to the school for roof repairs when two of my children passed out before I could get their certificate”
A 12-year-old pupil of Abeke Primary school, here in Sapele, who also spoke to Vangard today, explained how their teachers collected N1000 from them “If we don’t pay, they flog us adding that those of them who didn’t pay were sent home.
Meanwhile, following Mrs Igbive suspension, Advocate learnt an emergency meeting was held yesterday where all the teachers vowed to swim and sink with her.
A visible angry teacher who spoke to Advocate on condition of anonymity said “the decision to charge the pupils N800 was a joint one taken by Association of Primary School Headmasters of Nigeria (APSHON) in a meeting held on the 28th February 2019, at Okirighre Primary School, Sapele. The APSHON chairman was said to have read out in his address that all Headmasters in the local government area should collect N800, giving the breakdown as follows , APSHON, N220; C.I.E, N10 per child; HPM, N10 per child; NUT, N10 per child; HM/Exams, N450, while class teachers are entitled to N100.
Attempt to reach the APSHON chairman as at the time of writing proved abortive as his number was out of reach.