The time many schools grandstand that no student is allowed to stay in class without having paid their fees fully is over.
Such schools, particularly those located in areas populated by low-income earners, will fold up immediately.
The present economy does not support such hard-stances school administration anymore. And, most schools that actually understand the environment they are operating in, have improvised accordingly.
Like we say in local parlance, the situation Nigerians find themselves now, warrants that everybody must borrow sense.
Some sharp schools have just done that. They have introduced the Esusu method of paying school fees, Vanguard reports.
It sounds funny, but they are getting by, pretty well with it.
Esusu is a local Nigerian word for thrift.
It is a system where particularly, low-income earners, market women and artisans pool together their meagre resources for a period of time and draw it when it must have accumulated, to be able to carry out a project or solve a problem.
That is the method some schools have adopted to help parents cope with fees payment in an economy where average income earners are living from hand to mouth.
Some parents who spoke to Economy&Lifestyle painted pathetic pictures of what they go through to see their wards through schools, and a few schools they approached seemed to understand.
Mrs. Met Omosefunmi, a private school teacher, said: “Some schools accept school fees daily.
“As the child is coming to school, and the parents know they cannot afford termly payment of school fees.
“In a school I served in Muwo, when the management saw the predicaments of parents due to what the economy had become. They introduced the Esusu style of collecting school fees.
“They made small cards with months and days available to parents.
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“The wards come to school with the cards and their amount they are paying for the day and it is ticked to show parents.
“The children are given the cards when going home to avoid misplacing them.
“If such a means is not adopted parents will move their wards to other schools, you know things are very difficult and they cannot really afford paying the fees so they take such a child to a public school.
“There is also a new school in my area that is runned like a public school. The fees are very low. As low as N3500 per term for a child in primary level and N5,000 for the Secondary level. The population is very large and their branches as well.
“They also use the esusu method.”
However not all that is good for the goose is good for the gander.
A parent without an up to date Tax Clearance certificate might not be able to register the child or children in public schools in some states as part of the school requirements.
Mrs Ogbonna Victoria, a senior secondary school teacher said: “The rate at which parents are withdrawing their children because of increased school fees is alarming.
“Most of them take the children to public schools where they pay no school fees but register with basic requirements like tax clearance certificates among other things.
“If a parent can afford the school fees, but can meet up with payment only thrice he informs the school management.
“My son’s school for instance after losing over 15 pupils, the management had to reconsider esusu after a parent introduced it in one of the Parents Teacher Association meetings.
“The high cost of living is making everyone cut costs, including in areas of education.
“Gone are the days when parents sought good and expensive schools for their wards.
“Now, the children should just leave home to study.
“It doesn’t matter whether it is a private or public school.”
Mrs. Amanda Lawrence, a hair stylist, said she had to change the school of her two-year-old daughter after the fees was raised ti N50,000 per term from N35,000 and the management insisted on termly payment.
“The way things are heading in this economy is alarming.
“When I attended school, I was paying N5,000 per term in primary school. Now our education system has degraded and the schools are still increasing school fees.
“My sister had to take her children to a government secondary school in Surulere, when their school fees were increased to N60,000 per term from N45,000 and the school refused the Esusu method.
“This term I changed the school of my two year old daughter when her old school increased her school fees to N50,000 per term from N35,000 and refused the Esusu method.
“In her new school you can pay four to five times or weekly like esusu in a term but you will sign a legal agreement on such terms.
“This is what many schools are doing now to ease the burden of debt and avoid less patronage in the case of insisting on full payment at once .
On her part, Mrs. Grace Ohaleke, a public school teacher said: “My children are in public schools today because I had to convince my husband to withdraw them from their former school that was a private school because they refused the Esusu method of fees payment without considering the amount of children I had.
“Many schools are coming up with school fee payment methods to keep and increase their students.
“The esusu is the most adopted style which also enables them to pay teachers on time too.
“My son was in Junior Secondary School three (JSS3) then.
“I told him I cannot pay ridiculous fees to a school that doesn’t even have quality teachers.
“In public schools, you can never see a teacher that is not qualified in teaching.
“We have the best and no one can deny that.
“My son was first ashamed when they started but as time went by he got used to it and is happy.
“Parents in this present economy, no longer look at what people will say or do for their actions.
“They go for what will give them peace of mind and enable them to save for other expenses.”
EDOCSO Celebrates World Human Rights Day; 50% Of Nigeria’s Challenges Traced To Illicit Drugs
By Joseph Ebi Kanjo
If the menace of illicit drugs and its use can be addressed in Nigeria, 50% of the nation’s challenges must have been properly addressed and settled.
Dr. Mamud Adamu, Assistant Commandant of Narcotics, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Edo State, made this assertion in Benin, on Sunday, at an event organised by Edo Civil Society Organisations (EDOCSO) to mark the 2023 World Human Rights Day with the theme: Freedom, Equity & Justice for All.
Speaking on the topic: Drug Abuse, a Societal Problem and Possible Solutions, Dr Adamu who was the Keynote Speaker at the event, attributed several challenges such as kidnapping, murder, banditry, armed robbery, etc in this country to use and abuse of drugs, insisting that no man, can with his clear eye, harm his fellow man.
The NDLEA Officer who lamented that many investors are scared of coming to the country due to these challenges of which many can be traced to drugs, further lamented that “drug abuse affects our mental health and also affects the national economic. Any country where its youths are into drugs, that country cannot prosper.”
While urging citizens to inform the NDLEA in case of any suspicious deal in their area, Dr Adamu noted: “Drugs is the root cause of why some investors are scared of investing their money in this country.
“Guide your children, pray for them. Make sure you are sure of the kinds of friends they keep.”
On his part, Dr. Moses Oshiegbu, Health Officer, Psychiatric, while speaking on the topic: Mental Health- Effect of Drug Abuse, called for laws prohibiting public advert of illicit drugs.
“There should be law punishable for parents who send their underage children to buy these substances.
There should be law prohibiting public advert of alcohol and other substances,” he added.
Earlier, the Interim Technical Executive Council (TEC) Chairman, EDOCSO, Comrade Austin Enabulele, said celebration of the Day by the organisation was to let the whole world know that every man born of a woman has a right.
“The celebration is to let the whole world know that all human beings, regardless of their colour, status, have a right. Respect my right, and I respect yours. Respect to human rights is the significance of the day.
“We are calling on government, private and individuals to respect the right of everybody,” he added.
On his part, Comrade Omobude Agho, former Coordinator-General, EDOCSO, and convener, Left Movement of Nigeria, expressed joy for the progresses the civil society organisations had made over the years in its fight for human rights.
The EDOCSO also used the celebration of the Day to award three popular volunteer traffic controllers in Benin City; a Divisional Police Officer and a Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, for their service and contribution to the society.
Alleged ₦81.2bn Tree Planting Scandal: House Committee Exonerates NAGGW
The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee set up to investigate the utilisation of Ecological Fund released to the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), has absolved the Agency’s management of allegations of fraud allegations leveled against it.
The Honorable Ismaila Dabo-led Adhoc committee was set up in July, to investigate allegations of mismanagement of funds released to the agency from the Ecological Fund.
This followed a motion titled: “The Need to Investigate the Utilization of Ecological Funds Released to the Great Green Wall by the International Organizations from 2015 to Date; and All Federal Allocations to the National Agency for the Great Green Wall as well as all Contract Awarded to Various Contractors for the Project from 2019 to Date.” which was sponsored by Honourable Ali Lawan Shettima.
The House panel, in a report obtained by Vanguard, on Sunday, revealed that it reached the conclusion after considering oral evidence and reviewing documents made available to it by those who testified before the 15 member committee.
At the inaugural sitting of the Adhoc Committee, the management team of the agency was invited to shed light on allegations that it spent ₦81.2 billion on the planting of 21 million trees across 11 frontline states.
The States listed were: Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno.
The House Committee equally queried the agency over discrepancies in some of its expenditures.
Director General/CEO of National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), Dr. Yusuf Maina Bukar, in his presentation before the Committee in September, denied the allegation while making clarifications on budgetary allocations to the agency.
He informed the committee that he assumed office in April 2022, and that berifiable records show that the sum of ₦53,425,423,874.34 was the amount released to the Agency from inception to July 2023, as against the sum of N81.2 bn which the Agency was alleged to have spent.
Bukar insisted the Agency has not acted outside its mandate in the implementation of its mandate.
According to him, not all of the ₦53,425,423,874.34 received were directly spent for tree planting activities as some uninformed persons would want Nigerians to believe.
He said, “The NAGGW cost of planting, from inception in 2015 to July 2023 is ₦5,145,735,470.15
“That the approximate sum of ₦7.2 billion balance in the Agency’s account are liabilities already committed to ongoing contracts that have already been awarded.
“All unutilized funds from capital appropriation are refunded to Federal Government TSA account at the end of the financial year where applicable.”
The Honourable Dabo fifteen-man Committee in its report also faulted the claim that the agency received the sum of ₦81.2 bn noting that, “Evidence from the Hearing indicates that the NAGGW received a total sum of ₦53,425,423,874.34 (Fifty-three Billion, Four Hundred and Twenty-five Million, Four Hundred and Twenty-three Thousand, Eight Hundred- and Seventy-four-naira, Thirty-four Kobo) only from inception in 2015 to July, 2023.”
In the course of its investigations, the Committee also discovered that the Agency didn’t receive budgetary allocation for 2015; and that ecological funding was not released to the agency until 2019.
The House panel also discovered that, “the percentage of ecological funding going to the Agency was reduced from 15% provided for by the Act to just 5% with effect from January 2020 to date.”
The report acknowledged the paucity and untimely release of funds, inability to access foreign assistance and absence of a Governing Board as some of the factors hindering the performance of the agency.
The lawmakers equally expressed displeasure over the unilateral reduction in the statutory allocation to the agency by fiat, and urged government, as a matter of urgency revert the Ecological Fund releases to the agency back to 15 percent as provided for by the NAGGW Act.
The report further read in part, “That the total sum of ₦20,168,363,662.18 (Twenty Billion, One Hundred and Sixty- Eight Million, Three Hundred and Sixty-Three Thousand, Six Hundred- And Sixty-Two-Naira, Eighteen Kobo) only being the shortfall of the reduction from Ecological Fund for January, 2020 to date, be immediately released to the Agency to fund its activities;”
Other recommendations contained in the report read : “Similarly, the Ecological fund office should calculate remit to the NAGGW the total sums due to the agency from the Ecological Fund from 2015 to 2018;
“Urge the National Agency for the Great Green Wall to as a matter of urgency include the frontline states of Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe States in the fourth phase of the a forestation projects which is to commence soon.
“There is urgent need for the agency to undertake recruitment of staff, especially for its offices at the front line states;
“Need for a greater collaboration and synergy between the NAGGW and the Federal Ministry of Environment;”
“Urge the Federal Government to constitute a Governing Board for the National Agency for the Great Green Wall;
“Need for extensive enlightenment of the general public on the sustainable use of the forest for preservation.”
Aside from submissions by the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Ecological Project Office, the Committee also undertook on-the-spot assessment visit to projects sites in some of the frontline states, namely; Kano, Jigawa and Sokoto State.
UNILORIN Extends POST-UTME Registration
The University of Ilorin, Unilorin, has approved an extension of POST-UTME registration by one week to cater for days of technical hitches.
This is contained in a statement issued in Ilorin on Sunday by Mr Mansur Alfanla, the Registrar of the university.
He announced that the new deadline for registration is Dec. 17, 2023.
It would be recalled that the deadline of the POST-UTME registration was December 10, before the extension.
The registrar therefore advised intending candidates to register within the extended period as there would not be further extension.
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