IT is now a five-year jail term for examination cheats or N200,000 fine or both. The Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved the amendment to an Act of the West African Examinations Council, on Wednesday, September 4. RuqayyatU Rufai, minister of education, who announced the decision in Abuja on Wednesday, while briefing State House correspondents, said the decision of the meeting, which was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, was to “give effect to the revised convention of WAEC, 2003 in Nigeria.” She said the council had subsequently directed the ministry of justice to take further necessary action on the subject.
Rufai had recently presented a memo to the FEC, seeking its approval for the enactment of an Act to amend the WAEC Act, CAP W4, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004, with the aim of giving effect to the revised convention of WAEC, 2003 in the country. The 2004 Act, “empowers WAEC to take disciplinary action against those who have committed both the offences and penalties for illegally using examination papers and leakage of examination papers.”
Section 19(1) of the Act reads in part: “Such candidate shall not take or be allowed to take or continue the examination; in addition, he shall be prohibited from taking any examination held or conducted by or on behalf of the Council for a period of two years immediately following upon such contraventions. If a candidate aforesaid has already taken any papers at the examination, his result therefrom shall be cancelled.
“In addition, the candidate may be prosecuted and if found guilty, shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N200, 000 or imprisonment for a term of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.” The sub-continental examination body was established in 1952 following the acceptance of the Jeffery Report by the then colonial governments in Gold Coast (Ghana), Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Gambia and later joined by Liberia in 1974.
PDP’s Questionable Victory
IT sounds like a fairy tale but it is true. A councillorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the rerun election held on Saturday, August 31, in Offa Local Government Area, Kwara State, confessed that he did not win the election for which he was declared winner by the State Independent Electoral Commission, KWSIEC. Afolabi Jimoh, the PDP candidate, confessed that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, actually won in his ward.
Jimoh was declared the winner by the KWSIEC. But the young politician at a press conference said: “I remain the authentic candidate of the PDP for Shawo Southwest Ward. I make bold to say that in all the eight polling units in my ward, the PDP lost that day. As a son of this great town, I believe that in all that we do, we should know that we are going to account for them. In this wise, I am not going to be a part to getting what is not mine from anybody. In all the eight polling units in my ward (Shawo Southwest) the PDP lost, while the APC won convincingly in all the polling units in the rerun on August 31, 2013. I know well that the town stands for equity and justice. I know that we shall give account of all our actions on this earth one day.” This has cast doubts on the fairness of the conduct of the elections held at the local government on Saturday, August 31.
Saheed Popoola, chairmanship candidate of the APC, said the announcement that his PDP opponent won the poll was laughable, unjust and dangerous to democracy. Addressing the press in Offa, Popoola urged well-meaning Nigerians, including President Goodluck Jonathan, the inspector general of Police, and Attahiru Jega, chairman, Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, to prevail on KWSIEC to upturn its injustice. He said the authentic results, which were obtained from the collation centres, be made public in the interest of peace, justice and progress.
“The people of Offa Local Government, last Saturday, unequivocally decided that I, Saheed Popoola of the APC, am their choice. This choice must be respected, and we stand before God and man to declare that we stand by this choice. We are going to do everything possible within the ambit of the law to retrieve this mandate and exercise it to the benefit of the people of Offa. We shall not rest or tire until the people’s choice is sworn in,” he said. According to Popoola, the APC polled 11,337 votes to defeat the PDP candidate, who allegedly got 4,710.
Akin Oyetunji, presiding officer for Shawo Central, corroborated Jimoh’s confession. Oyetunji said: “We accredited 227 people (at the unit) and 206 of them voted. Of the 206, the APC had 130 votes and the PDP had 73 for the chairmanship. For councillorship, the APC had 152 and the PDP 57 votes. I can say it anywhere that in that polling unit, the APC won the election. I don’t fear anybody than the Almighty Allah. I’ll say the truth even if it is bitter.”
Since the election result was declared, there has been demonstration in the local government area with protesters demanding that Uthman Ajidagba, chairman of the KWSIEC, be investigated for his role in the controversy.
A Matter of Flexibility
GOVERNOR Gabriel Suswan of Benue State has accused members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, of misleading the public on what the federal government has done since negotiations began. Suswan, who was addressing the National Union of Benue State Students at the Government House in Makurdi, capital of Benue State, on Thursday, September 5, said that the government had acceded to all the demands of the ASUU and urged the lecturers to return to the classrooms for the sake of Nigerian youths. “The federal government has done a lot and I think the ASUU should also sacrifice and shift ground as the whole negotiation is becoming political,” the governor said.
Suswam, who is leading the federal government negotiation team with the ASUU, revealed that the sum of N 100 billion had already been distribursed for infrastructural development and N30 billion for earned allowances. He said the criteria for distribution of funds was adopted with the ASUU representatives and that all projects would be executed by the universities and their councils. Besides, he said, the earned allowance was for only federal universities and as such, state universities had no business going on strike. He also disclosed that the Benue State University lecturers had been paid their earned allowance.
Meanwhile, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, has expressed worries over the prolonged strike of the ASUU and appealed to the federal government to hasten peace moves in the interest of Nigerian students. The PFN, in a statement by Felix Omobude, national president, in Benin City, Edo State, on Wednesday, appealed to all parties in the conflict to find an urgent solution to the problem so as not to destroy the university system. Omobude said: “While the PFN salutes the spartan courage of the leadership of the ASUU for its positive position on the urgent need to revamp and reposition the education sector, the PFN is of the strong view that the need has arisen to bring into sharp focus, the crushing brunt the country is now being made to bear for the continued closure of the universities. The PFN appeals to ASUU not to throw away the baby with its bath water but should return to class as soon as possible in the interest of parents, students and, indeed, the country.”
Terrorists on the Offensive
SUSPECTED members of the Boko Haram, an Islamic sect, were again on the offensive on Thursday, September 5, when they attacked two towns in Borno State, killing 20 people. Reports said that the terrorists started their attack by opening fire in a market and killing 15 people in Gajiran Local Government Area of Borno State. They later went to a nearby village, Bulabulin Ngawra in Konduga Local Government Area, where about five other people were killed.
Witnesses said that the attacks forced the surviving residents to flee their homes through bush paths. Gajiran residents who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri, the state capital, said the gunmen pretended to be traders attending a local market. “Some of them came aboard trucks while others came on foot to beat the security checks at the entrance of the town,” one Ibrahim Bulama told a news agency. They then “blended among traders conducting business,” before opening fire in the market, killing 15 people, he told reporters. They also set fire to a building belonging to Ngwara LGA and a police post. Gajiran is about 85 kilometres or 50 miles from the state capital.
— Sep. 16, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT