By Kingsley Fanwo
Gov Idris Wada of Kogi State has approved the reimbursement of N276,769,400 to eligible candidates that sat for the 2014/2015 West African Examinations Council (WAEC) examinations in the state.
According to a statement issued by the Secretary of the WAEC Fees Refund Committee, Ibrahim Odoma, a total of 24,172 candidates were certified eligible to benefit from the funds released by the governor.
Mr. Odoma said a seven-man committee headed by Hajiya Maryam Ladi Ibrahim, had earlier screened the list of WAEC candidates from across public schools in the state with a view to ascertaining the actual number of eligible beneficiaries.
He said each beneficiary is to be refunded the sum of N11,450 which was the amount their parents had earlier paid for their registration.
It would be recalled that governor Wada had earlier promised to reimburse parents who paid for the 2014/2015 WAEC fees for their children and wards following the suspension of fees payments by government in order to ascertain the actual beneficiaries as well as amount involved.
The government was forced to suspend the payment last year following some alleged fraud leading to a demand of about N500million from government, which represented a huge difference against the figures paid in the previous years. The benefiting schools are now been issued bank draft to cover for students who are certified to have paid.
Parents and educationists across the state have continued to hail the decision of the government to redeem its promise to parents in the state through the refund of WAEC fees.
A foremost educationist, Chief Obaholo Kayode Osu said the governor’s action has helped to restore the confidence of Kogi people in his administration. He said the gesture of the Wada Administration will help to encourage parents to continue to enroll their children in school, having been assured of government’s support.
“What the governor has done will surely reinforce our advocacy for universal education as parents will be confident of enrolling their wards in schools with strong believe that the government will support their education.
This is a welcome development and we hope the governor will leverage on this popular decision by looking into the pension of retired teachers to encourage those in active service to continue to give their best. We are aware a lot of reforms are going on in that sector as we hope to start reaping the fruits of the reforms soon”, he said.