In line with the subsisting agenda to reform the educational standard of Abia, thus making the State ‘second to none ‘, the government of Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, has restated her relentless commitment to shutting down all private owned schools across the State, operating below stipulated standard.
Briefing Journalists at Government House, Umuahia, shortly after week’s State Executive Council (EXCO) meeting presided over by Governor Alex Otti, the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Prince Okey Kanu however, disclosed that the 197 schools recently shut down by the State Government have received a fresh order to do the needful.
“So, in carrying out reforms, the government has set certain standards and has a target base to ensure that all the schools in the state are complying, but those in the private sector have not committed themselves in such a manner. The government decided to shut down those schools because of substandard curriculum and quality of teachers, and some of them because of the environment. So, that’s the reason we said those who are committed to changing the way they operate and are able to meet the standards that the Government has set up, the Government will allow them to get back to work.”
He added that that the schools that meet up with the laid down guidelines might be allowed an opportunity to begin to operate.
Moreso, the Information Commissioner hinted that a bid to ensure an efficient governance, the present administration has vowed to withhold salaries of all unverified staff of various Ministries Departments Agencies, (MDA’s) in the state, with effect from the end of November, 2023.
According to him, the government has set a target date for compliance, stressing that those committed to meeting the standard would be reopened.
He, therefore , advised civil servants yet to be verified, to consult the heads of their various offices to ascertain the why of their delayed verification, pointing out that the exercise had been extended by two weeks.
Corroborating, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties, Dr Betty Emeka Obasi, noted that the verification exercise kicked off since September, 2023.
She, however, expressed regrets that most workers who were reluctant to adhere to government’s orders thereby participating in the exercise.
According to her, names of various unverified staff have been posted in the MDAs, are they are expected to submit their documents to their heads of establishments, who would turn them in to the verification committee.
“The verification started in September. We expect everybody who is a staff in the state should have been verified. We have a good number of people that haven’t done that. Some didn’t appear at all, some did and could not complete the exercise for various reasons,” she said.
Continuing , she said: “As many as found their names there, ought to have gone back to their MDAs, as we said, take the documents backing their claims that they ought to have been verified, to their head of unit. The head of the unit should further send these documents to the body that is doing the verification.”
“From this month, if you are unverified, you won’t get a salary,” stating, however, “Because we are a government that has a human face, we have decided to keep it open until the end of this year. You can still go back to your Ministry for corrections to be made.”
Describing the Labour Party led government as compassionate, she noted that other than persecute erring workers for collecting salaries over the years without being duly recognized as bonafide workers of the Abia State Government, the former had rather resorted to delist staff from the payroll.
Speaking amidst optimism, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Uzor Nwachukwu, said the emergence of LGA Mayors would would be inaugurated today, Thursday , November 30, would pave the way for the grassroots to begin to witness more development as funds meant for the Local Councils would be used maximally to develop the areas.