By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka—AUTHORITIES of the National Commission for Nomadic Education are battling to find solutions to the problems facing nomadic education in the five South-East states.
Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Bashir Usman, said during a training workshop for 155 teachers in nomadic schools from the five South-East states in Awka, that in addition to evolving techniques aimed at enhancing teaching and learning, the commission would expose the teachers to variety of innovative strategies and child-oriented methodologies to help them deliver content more effectively as professionals.
He said the teachers were also acquainted with issues relating to the environment and culture of the target groups for effective delivery of quality education and to avoid clashes often recorded in some locations between the herdsmen and their host communities.
Director of Programmes Development in the commission, Alhaji Aliyu Ardo, identified low level of knowledge and competency, on the part of the teachers on the effective use of the curriculum guides, as one of the challenges facing nomadic education in the zone.
He urged the teachers to ensure a turnaround in their various schools in line with the national policy on education.
During the workshop, most of the teachers poured out their frustrations in their various schools, noting that the migrant nature of most of the pupils often led to disruption of academic programmes.
According to them, the problem was such that sometimes there would be no pupils to sit for examinations after teaching them for a whole term.
The coordinator in one of the schools in Anambra State said: “At one of the schools at Nkpor, near Onitsha, the pupils would fill the school, only to disappear after some time and when inquiries are made, it will be discovered that the pupils had gone to shepherd their cows, which could take months. And by the time they return, examination would have taken place and the affected pupils would still insist on joining their mates who sat and passed the examinations to the next class”.
Another teacher from Imo State said once it was farming period, most of the pupils would disappear for job hunting as they claim that it was by so doing that they sustain their poor families.
She said that in some cases, the pupils would abandon their studies to perform some traditional ceremonies in their communities that could last for months.
Anambra State commissioner for education, Professor Kate Omenugha urged the teachers not to be discouraged because they were providing a vital service to the nation.
She said that despite the challenges, the state government would continue to encourage the growth of the migrant schools in line with the policy of the state government to ensure that every pupil enjoyed quality education in the state.
She said that some of the incentives included payment of additional 20% salary to teachers in the migrant schools and another 20% to those who teach in hard to reach locations in the state.
According to her, Anambra State has 95 nomadic schools, comprising of 42 migrant farmers, eight pastoralists, and 42 fisher folks with enrolment figure of 11360 pupils, adding that of the number, 5707 were males and 5653 were females, while there were 496 teachers made up of 398 females and 98 males.
Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ensure proper service of all documents it intend to use in the prosecution of its case against a former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and two others on the defendants.
The directive was sequel to the objections raised on Wednesday by the defendants’ lawyers to the admissiblity of a document sought to be tendered by the EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) as exhibit.
Jacobs had in the course of examining the third prosecution witness, Tunde Adeniyi David, tendered the statements of account of Abia State Government House and urged the court to admit same as exhibits.
This move was however objected to by the defence lawyers on the ground that the document was different from what was front-loaded by the prosecution in the proof of evidence.
In his submissions, Kalu’s lawyer, Goddy Uche (SAN) said it is wrong for the prosecution to seek to tender a document that was never made available to the defence.
“The documents being shown to us were not front-loaded. They are totally different from what was front-loaded in the proof of evidence. We are totally taken by surprise this morning. The document were only made yesterday”, he said.
The silk urged the court to adjourn the matter to allow the defence study the documents after they might have been properly served on it by the prosecution.
Lawyers to the second defendant, Solo Akuma (SAN) however urged the court to reject the documents over the failure of the prosecution to comply with Section 379 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) which mandates the front-loading of all documents it intends to rely on in a criminal trial.
“My submission is that this document is being produced for the first time today. It is mandatory that we must have an advanced copy of all the documents to be used by the prosecution.
“We therefore urged the court to reject the documents owing to the failure of the prosecution to front-load it in the proof of evidence”, he said.
Akuma’s position was also corroborated by the third defendant’s lawyer, K. C. Nwofo (SAN).
In his ruling on the contentious issue, Justice Idris held that having not been earlier front-loaded, the document is not yet admissible.
“In line with the provisions of Section 379 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), a proof of evidence must contain all documents to be relied upon by the prosecution in a criminal trial.
“There is no doubt that the documents sought to be tendered is not in the proof of evidence. This documents cannot be admitted at this stage.
“In the interest of justice, the prosecution is directed to make the documents available to the defence to enable it study it”, the judge held.
Further hearing in the matter continues tomorrow.