The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has withheld results of candidates that sat for the 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Niger State over the state government’s indebtedness to the Council to the tune of N694 million.
Consequently, the fate of the over 49, 000 candidates who sat for the examination in the state remained uncertain, as they may not be able to access their results for admission into tertiary institutions except the state government pays the debt.
The immediate past administration in the state paid WAEC and NECO fees for all eligible candidates, including non-indigenes writing both examinations, but the current administration reviewed the incentives, thus paying for only WAEC for certain categories of students.
It will be recalled that indigene and non-indigene students had been competing favourably in tertiary institutions in the state, and were paying same tuition fees and other levies lately, but all that is now history, as non-indigenes are made to pay almost twice what indigenes in tertiary schools pay and this cuts across all courses.
Just recently, the state governor, Abubarkar Sani Bello, agreed to pay for only 36, 397 candidates who passed the mock exams conducted by the state Ministry of Education out of the 48, 715 that sat for the said exams.
Investigations revealed that due to inability to pay for the 36, 397 candidates as earlier promised, about 12, 000 other candidates, whose WAEC examination registration fees were paid by their parents/guardians, were now caught in the web of state government’s indebtedness to WAEC.
To recover their N694 million, WAEC is now withholding the entire results of candidates who sat for their 2018 exams in Niger State, thereby frustrating the students’ chances of getting admission tertiary institutions.
Some of the parents, who spoke to our correspondent, lamented the frustrations they and their wards had been subjected to in getting them admitted into tertiary institutions due to the failure of the state government to off-set the debt.
“The immediate past administration pay WAEC and NECO fees for all eligible candidates, indigenes and non-indigenes but we are in change era,” one of the victims said, adding that, “the government promised to pay for only WAEC but even at that, they still select only indigenes; we struggle to pay for our own,” said a victim.
One of the parents, Mrs. Helen (not real name), had lamented that, “After struggling to raise money to pay for our children, WAEC refused to release the results. We are hearing that it is because the state government refused to pay N694 million debts to WAEC.
“As a parent, many of us had to sell our personal belongings just to raise money and pay for WAEC and NECO of our children because the state government refused to pay for them; we are now suffering the consequences of the state government’s inability to pay the outstanding debt because WAEC has refused to release the results. This government is not being fair to us.”
Meanwhile, Niger State commissioner for Education, Hajiya Fatima Madugu confirmed that the state government is owing WAEC, N694 million. She however quickly added that some money will be advanced to WAEC last Friday to ensure the immediate release of the results.
Madugu also told our correspondent that there was an understanding between WAEC and the state government for a N30 million monthly installments and promised that the money would be released last weekend, a promise that was never kept as at the time of this report on Sunday.
“It is true that the state government is indebted to the tune of N694 million; because the money is much, we agreed to be paying N30 million monthly to WAEC. Hopefully, we will pay some money tomorrow so that they will release the results.”