Worried by the news of that some states of the Federation are owing the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to the tune of N4 billion, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has urged the examination body to publish the names of such debtor states, as well as take legal action against them.
The debt is said to be the fees for sponsored candidates from those states for the Council’s 2014 examination. Already, WAEC has threatened not to release the results until the debt is offset.
But the TUC, in a statement signed by its President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and Secretary General, Comrade (Barr.) Musa Lawal, said students should not be penalized for the debt, urging WAEC to direct its anger at the debtor states.
According to the Congress, WAEC should “publish names of the defaulting states and take legal action against them to serve as deterrence to such negligence in future. After all, it is not the fault of the candidates, so they should not be made victims of the failings of their state governments.”
It continued: “The nation cannot afford to deny over 600,000 potential students admission into various institutions at a time when we are spending billions if not trillions of naira to fight insecurity. An educated mind is liberated and reasonable. Thus it pays us to educate our youths if we must build a strong nation. If we must stop running to the west for loans and grants to revive our industries every now and then, the leadership must stop paying lip service to education.”
The Congress wondered why politicians who promised heaven on earth during their electioneering campaigns do otherwise after assuming office.
It cautioned that “it is irrational for state governments to put candidates resident in their states at risk of having their results withheld and losing their prospects for admission into tertiary institutions of learning in the forthcoming academic year by neglecting or reneging on their pledges to pay the WAEC fees.”
The Congress also charged influential Nigerians to prevail on the state governments to come to the aid of the innocent candidates, and emphasized that the less privileged must not be at the mercy of the privileged few.