Over 100 illegal schools have been shut down by the Abia state government across the state. The schools include primary, secondary and nursery schools.
The state government has sealed the premises of the affected schools while it has set up a tribunal to try the operators of the school.
Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Monica Philips, who disclosed this to newsmen at a briefing in Umuahia yesterday, said the illegal schools were used to perpetrate examination malpractices in the state.
She said “despite previous warnings to illegal private schools and advice that their operators upgrade them; they refused hence the decision to close them”.
Philips did not, however, disclose the exact number of schools affected by the closure, but noted that they “were hundreds”.
She said “officials of the ministry were still going round the state to identify other illegal schools”.
The commissioner also said only teachers or examination administrators who undergo training on examination ethics will be allowed to participate in the conduct of examinations in the state.
Philips said only those who participated and passed the examination administration Integrity and technical certificate workshop held recently in the state by the ministry, in conjunction with Exam Ethics Marshal International, would be involved in the conduct of school examinations in the state.
According to her, the measures are part of government’s effort to ensure that the standard of education in Abia remains high.
She said Governor Theodore Orji was in support of the ministry’s effort to ensure that examinations conducted in the state were credible and reliable, adding that the governor wanted the policy of zero tolerance for examination malpractices maintained in the state.
The Abia State government has ordered the immediate closure of all revenue accounts, being operated by ministries and directed that henceforth, all government revenue should go into the consolidated account of government.
Governor Theodore Orji disclosed this in a meeting with commissioners, permanent secretaries and heads of non-ministerial Departments of the government at the government house, Umuahia.
He said he has observed with dismay that some ministries are still using revenue agents, other than the only revenue consultant approved by the government and warned that any commissioner, or head of non-ministerial department found to be engaged in the act will be arrested and sacked.
The governor further warned that any person who parades himself as revenue consultant or collector in the state will be dealt with by the government, adding that any other revenue consultant outside that is not approved by the government is illegal.
He regretted that money meant for the government goes into private pockets while the government labours to meet its financial obligations to the people and vows that the trend will no longer be condoned.
The governor also directed that the Abia state Environmental protection Agency (ASEPA) to cancel all contracts it has with revenue agents while directing the Board of Internal Revenue to henceforth desist from taking revenue of the board upfront.
He charged all the commissioners and heads of non- ministerial departments to explore ways of making money for government other than going to the Ariara and other markets in Aba and bring it for implementation.