•800 may be dismissed for certificate forgery
From MOSHOOD ADEBAYO, Abeokuta
Ogun State Government has uncovered no fewer than 527 ghosts workers in the initial results of its ongoing audit of the state primary school teachers. Beside, no fewer than 800 teachers may lose their jobs in the secondary review exercise, which the state government is currently embarking upon. About 6,531 teachers are currently subjected to the secondary review exercise, which, Daily Sun learnt, was aimed at confirming the authenticity of teachers’ certificates, as well as attestation letters submitted during the exercise.
There had been problems of delay in the issuance of degree certificates by tertiary institutions attended by many teachers in the state. For instance, the Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta and the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye where majority of primary school teachers attended the National Certificate of Education (NCE) and the degree programmes, had more than a decade failed to issue certificates.
This development prompted the state government to write directly to the affected schools purportedly attended by the teachers to verify their claim of attendance, as well as letters and statements of results presented during the screening exercise. Sources close to the state Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) at Oke-Mosan revealed that a number of cases of certificate forgery had also been uncovered in the state during the exercise.
It was further learnt that after the cat was let out of the bag, a number of teachers had already tendered their resignation with several others applying for voluntary retirement. The Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board, Mufutau Ajibola who confirmed the development said the state government would not accept resignations from those who had already been identified as fraudulent. He cited the case of a teacher employed in 1978, but was still presenting a statement of result, 34 years after, saying:
“Such a case is highly suspicious because, in 1978, there was no backlog in issuance of degree certificates.” Ajibola described as worrisome, the incident of falsification of birth certificates, impersonation, as well as non-appearance of over 223 staff during the four-week screening exercise.
His words: “Such cases will be referred to the police and will be prosecuted. For someone to teach children when he or she does not have even the minimum qualifications is a serious and deliberate act of fraud, not just financial fraud, but moral fraud too.” Ajibola who said the exercise was not a witch-hunting one added: “This process is about Ogun State knowing and being sure that those teaching our children are qualified to do so.
Genuine, suitably qualified teachers have nothing to fear.” To ensure what he described as ‘fear treatment,’ the state government set up a review panel under the office of the Head of Service to hear any appeal arising from the process.