Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State said that he sacked the chairman and members of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) over mismanagement and dishonesty.
Wada who made this known during an interaction with newsmen in Lokoja as part of activities marking the 2014 Democracy Day, said he relieved the board members of their duties because “their cups were full.”
He explained that investigations into complaints of non-payment of salaries of primary school teachers’ emanating from SUBEB revealed widespread corruption, adding that “There was gross misappropriation and dishonesty; we gave them a long rope but they failed.
“One of the things I did was to give the SUBEB chairman time and I asked him to give me his own deadline to clear all the salary arrears.
“He said he would clear them before Easter period and I told him that I will hold him responsible if he failed and he said I should trust him. But after that, I was still getting complaints upon complaints that he still owed teachers salaries from January till date, and a responsible government cannot do that,” he said.
The governor noted that a critical element for quality education was quality teachers, adding that an unpaid teacher could not be a quality teacher “no matter how bright the teacher is.”
“You must pay teachers for the work they do and the money for SUBEB to do so is there as money is deducted every month for the payment of teachers’ salary. It is not about lack of money but mismanagement,” he said.
Wada said he gave members of the board enough time while collating evidence about the mismanagement going on at the board, stressing that a committee he constituted headed by Steven Aku to investigate the board, cleared the arrears of teachers’ salary up to March.
The governor said the issue led to strike by members of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) in the state, adding that though the strike had been officially called off, the teachers said they would not go back to their classrooms until the arrears of their salary were cleared.
He assured that the committee would likely pay the outstanding arrears till May in a fortnight to enable primary schools re-open.