By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
A Child Rights Activist, Comrade Ighorhiowhunu Aghogho on Sunday called on the Delta State Governor, Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa to immediately sack the Commissioner for Basic & Secondary Education, Mr. Chiedu Ebie over the alleged illegal collection of fees from students, parents and guardians by Delta State owned Primary and Secondary Schools before admitting new students in the state.
Aghogho made the call in a statement signed and made available to AUTHENTIC News Daily
Aghogho said one of the schools involved in the act is Erho Secondary School, Erho-Abraka in Ethiope East Local Government Area.
He noted that the act violates the fundamental rights of Children to the free Compulsory and Universal Education as provided by the Federal and Delta State Governments.
According to Aghogho, the money illegally collected from parents/guradians by the school it was does not go to the coffers of the Delta State Government.
This is coming as the Principal of the Institution simply identified as Mrs. Siakpere as well as the Vice Principal, Mrs. Erhiemo were caught in a “Sting Operation” bragging not to admit new intake into the institution if Parents/Guardians fails to pay the sum of N6, 500.00 for admission.
The Principal allegedly threatened to send a newly admitted JSS 1 Student, Master Miracle Onwute home after his father ,Mr. Felix Onwute had made payments N3,500.00 as part payment for his admission fee on 24th September for the balance N3,000.00 is not paid.
“Our attention has been drawn to the unscrupulous, dishonest, unprincipled, corrupt, dodgy, dubious, deceitful and devious activities of the Delta State Commissioner of Basic and secondary Education of unlawfully directing Principals/Head teachers of primary and secondary schools within and across Delta State of illegally collecting school fees from children who ought to benefit from the free compulsory and Universal Basic Education service of the state as provided by law.”
“The Delta State Universal Basic Education Law is being grossly violated by the very Commissioner, Ministry and Agency responsible for its implementation.
“We have been observing with keen interest how Principals/Head Teachers of Government owned primary and junior secondary schools in the state under the unlawful directive of the Delta State Ministry of Basic Education, Mr. chiedu Ebie of extorting and illegally collecting money in the form of fees under false pretense for admission of children, collection of results, cost of shovel, cutlass, toilet soap, desks, outside broom, inside broom, chalk, running cost etc since the resumption of academic exercise for this term.
Majority of these Principals/Head Teachers even have the audacity to send children back home for not paying the said levy or inflict corporal punishment on them.
“Some of these notorious schools collect between N4, 000.00 and N15, 000.00 un-receipted for the purpose of admitting children into Government owned Primary and Junior Secondary Schools in the State.
Aghogho noted that Section 27 of the Delta State Universal Basic Education Law 2006 declares the services provided in public primary and junior secondary schools to be free of charge, in addition for the arrest and prosecution of any person who receives or obtains any fee contrary to the provision of the law.
“Section 43 of the Delta State Universal Basic Education Law 2006 empowered the Commissioner of Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Chiedu Ebie to give specific or general directives to the Delta State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) in any matter which in his opinion is relevant to the implementation of the Universal Basic Education Policy of the Governor.
Aghogho argued that,”if the Universal Basic Education Policy of the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is not to direct Head-Teachers/Principals of primary and junior secondary schools to extort children and their Parents/Guardians, then the Governor should enforce Section 30 of the Delta State Universal Basic Education Law 2006 by removing the Commissioner of Basic and Secondary Education,Mr. Chiedu Ebie from office for his inability to enforce the fundamental rights of Delta State Children to benefit from the free Compulsory and Universal Basic Education being provided by both Federal and Delta State Government.’
Aghogho said the provision of subvention and instructional materials to primary and junior secondary schools in Delta State have been outlined in Section 3(r ), 3(u) of the Delta State Universal Basic Education Law 2006 to be the responsibilities of the State Universal Basic Education Board(SUBEB) and not Parents/Guardians.