Over 50,000 students who have finished secondary school in the past two years in Niger State may be denied admission into universities due to the failure of the state government to pay the fees owed for the NECO examination.
Some universities have released their admission lists but prospective candidates who graduated in 2019 and 2020 have not been able to access their final year results which would make them eligible for clearance for admission.
The Nation learnt that the students whose results are withheld by NECO in the state are more than 30,000.
The Niger State government had earlier said that it would not pay the NECO fees of non-indigenes and indigent students who did not get seven credits in the mock examinations organised by the state government.
The government stated that it would only pay the NECO fees of the indigent students.
It was also learnt that the non-indigent students who paid the NECO fees to the state government are still unable to access their results as they claim that NECO stated that they haven’t received any money from the state government.
It was learnt that over N1 billion is being owed to the examination body.
Some parents who spoke to The Nation express worry over the date of their children’s higher education.
Ahmed Musa whose son graduated from one of the secondary schools in Bosso said that his son has been given admission into the Federal University of Technology, Minna but cannot go for clearance because he hasn’t gotten his result.
“If I knew it would be like this, I would have paid for my child. How can my child do the examination and his result is being withheld and the government is saying they will pay the fees. If they know they do not have money, they should leave us to find the money and pay. This is wickedness. If my son misses this admission because of this no result, I will never forgive this government.”
A widow, Hannatu Bala said her son attends one of the government science school in Minna and she was happy when they were told that government will pay the examination fees for them adding that it turned out to be a bitter pill when the result is withheld due to non-payment of the fees by the government.
“If they had told me that I should pay, I would have struggled to pay. I have saved for my child to go into a higher institution but I have started touching that money because he cannot do any registration now. I only pray that the result is released before the admission closes. Do I have to register him for an external examination? that would be an extra cost. The government is not being fair to us.”
Jonah Abraham who is from Delta State living in Minna said he was surprised when his daughter told him they have to pay NECO examination because they are not from the state lamenting that after paying the fees, his daughter cannot still access her results.
“We did not see results and we didn’t see our money. Where did our money go to? Who has taken it? No one is telling us anything or explaining to us why our children cannot see their results. They have told us to pay, we did but we haven’t seen our result. They should give us our result or our money so that we can register for another examination.”
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Mrs Lydia Legbo, confirmed that the institution has released the list for admission and the admission process have begun.
When asked, She explained that no student would be cleared if he or she does not have their final school result.
The Public Relaations Officer (PRO) of the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University (IBBU), Lapai said the institution has not released its lists for admission but stated that the admission list would be released soon.
When our corresspondent went to the Niger State Ministry of Education, the Reporter met the absence of the Commissioner, Hajiya Hannatu Jubril Salihu.
The Reporter met with the Permanent Secretary, Sadiq Balarabe who said that he cannot speak on the issue until he gets clearance from the Commissioner.
He, however, confirmed that the state is owning NECO some money but there are talks to resolve the issue adding that the results would be released soon.
A source in the Ministry said for every examination being written by students in the state, the state needs over N400 million.
The Source said that there is an agreement that the state government would pay the owed sum instalmentally adding that the non-payment of the examination fees is due to Paucity and non-release of funds.
“This has been a long term challenge. The problem of non-payment of NECO examination did not start from this government, it started long ago, as far as 2013. The government have entered into an agreement with the examination body and has agreed to pay a certain amount of money monthly. The problem is not from the ministry, it is the Ministry of Finance that releases the money and not the Ministry of Education,” the Source stated.
When The Nation contacted the Head of Information of NECO, Azeez Sani directed the Reporter to go to the Ministry of Education to get the answers to her question.
But a Source in NECO told The Nation that the state government has not paid the NECO fees for 2019 and 2020.
The Nation learnt that there are plans for some of the parents to protest over the non release of their children and wards NECO results.