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INVESTIGATION: How Underfunding, Extortion, Unpaid Wages, Ruin Benue’s Secondary Schools – Part 2

By Iduh Onah, Amos Aar & Denen Achussah

(National Record) In this part of the report, authorities of secondary schools decry the regime of levies and the oppressive or arbitrary system of collection of the levies, the extortion by education officials among others; but the Benue State Teaching Service Board (TSB) vehemently defended the system, belying the testimonies of principals and asserting ongoing efforts at sanitising the school system of corruption

Students as taxpayers

Not a single school visited, including government and grant-aided, could confirm receiving a kobo from government coffers for any project or activity in the last ten years. Rather, it is the state’s education agencies and parastatals, including the Ministry of Education and the Teaching Service Board (TSB), as well as the government that are funded by secondary schools.
The managers of the state’s education system have carefully evolved a strategy which twisted the grant-aid policy into an exploitative tool. In the plot, National Record discovered, principals of schools have been turned into serfs and the schools they administer made centres for harvesting of funds through levies paid by students of government, grant-aided and non-grant-aided schools.

From schools visited, National Record obtained a list of levies imposed on students and collected by authorities of both government and grant-aided schools. The designated levies include: sports (N80); maintenance (N600); ICT (N500); quality assurance (N500); workshop (N15,000 per term per school); and techvibes (N500).

It was also gathered that prior to the current structure of levies, the Governor Samuel Ortom administration, upon assuming office in 2015, introduced a regime of N500 and N1,500 compulsory levies per student per session, designated as biometrics and ICT respectively. Also said to have been imposed was a one-off compulsory payment of N250,000 levy on every secondary school. This levy, corroborated by three principals, is said to be for the purchase of grass-cutting machines to be distributed to schools. After the collection, and up to the time of visits to schools by these reporters, not a single school has been supplied with a grass-cutting machine.

Added together from 2015, the mass of fund from these levies overtime is likely to be more than five billion naira. However, the value of facilities or infrastructure in all the schools visited by National Record, if put together, will be under one billion naira because of their degraded conditions.

Decrying the regime of levies in an interview with National Record in his office at Mkar, in Gboko local government area, Reverend Moses Saawuan Akem, the Education Secretary of NKST Worldwide, said the churches’ biggest disagreement with the state government is the levies, which he called taxes.

Rev. Akem, who is also the Chairman of Forum of Education Secretaries of Churches in Benue State, questioned why the churches should be used to collect taxes from poor parents and handover to the government. He said in providing education, the churches are helping the government as it is its (government) role to do so. He accused TSB of being in the front row in collecting the taxes from poor parents.

“Now, the TSB is pioneering, it’s getting fund more than even the Ministry of Education, in collecting these taxes, those taxes that were meant for the ministry that we told the then Commissioner [of Education], and we wrote through our leader to the governor, that we would not be paying these levies  because we are helping the government in providing education. So, why should we be collecting these levies and taxes from poor parents, students, and paying you, government, and we said we’re assisting you.

“But now, TSB has come to say they are collecting all those levies; and we ask, for what? You’re collecting maintenance fees from us, the fees we’re collecting from students; we’re paying you TSB this money for what; what are we paying you this money for? What are you going to maintain? Is it maintaining the teachers?

“Before, government collects maintenance fees to assist schools, maintain those schools, maintain blocks [of buildings]. If there is a block that is needed in the school, government would go on and assist. That thing is no longer happening. We’re not receiving any assistance from government in terms of structures nor in terms of providing books, nor in terms of providing anything or chalk, nothing concerning materials – books or what? So, what are you collecting this money for?

“It was a point between us, the faith-based schools, and the TSB. We decided to just leave it like that for a while to move ahead but we’re not okay with it, the faith-based schools. We have a meeting we call Forum of Mission Education Secretaries, we meet together, all the education secretaries and the Board chairman, we meet together under the umbrella of the forum of Mission Education Secretaries and I chair them. That [levies] has been our problem with government.

“When we went to Otukpo, there was a place [school] Father Francis Atama told us that it is a grant-aided school and it is only the principal that is a government teacher or TSB teacher there, but government is claiming, collecting maintenance fee from that school; for what reason? So, as I was telling them, I have about fifty-something secondary schools, those government grant-aided are 18, the rest we cater for them ourselves and they are doing very well,” Rev, Akem said. Read his interview here.
Rev. Fr. Francis Atama, the Education Secretary of the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo, was also very critical of the levies and the general administration of schools. For him, the current managers of education are ignorant of the noble intentions behind the grant-aid policy and are only using it to enrich themselves.

“Those who founded the idea of granting aid to schools and put them into gazette have noble intentions. Those who are collecting levies these days don’t really know; that is why I said whether they know the policy that brought about the granting of aid; they don’t know why these things are being collected; it is just an opportunity to enrich themselves,” Rev. Fr. Atama told National Record in an interview in his office at the St. Francis Cathedral, Otukpo.

Fr. Atama, who is also the Secretary of Forum of Mission Schools in Benue State as well as the National Chairman of all Catholic Education Secretaries, said the Catholic Church is strongly opposed to the collection of levies, especially maintenance, sports, ICT and workshop levies. He pegs the opposition, like his counterpart, Rev. Akem of NKST, on the fact that the Catholic Church is helping the government in carrying out its constitutional role of providing education.

“The children in the mission schools are Benue children, not Mission children. Amongst the children in mission schools you’ve traditionalists, you’ve Catholics, you’ve Pentecostals, you have other faiths, so it’s not about the Catholic Church. Secondly, according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, ours are not for profit schools; we’re not running for profit. So if we’re not running the schools for profit, there are things that we should ordinarily be exempted from which the government is not doing,” Fr. Atama stated, alleging that there is fraud in the collection and management of the levies as the government often fail to render services for levies collected.

“Now, we pay for workshop, and I can say that for more than five years now, the Ministry of Education has not organised any workshop for which we’re paying every term. Each school in Benue State, whether grant-aided, non-grant-aided, each school pays N15,000 for workshop levy, and we’ve not had workshop for more than five years. I’d been a principal before becoming Education Secretary; so what’s the money used for?” Atama asks rhetorically.

He revealed that the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo pays the state government 22 million naira every year for its about 24 secondary schools and a Junior Seminary for different levies from students. He accused both WAEC and NECO of colluding with the state government to arm-twist schools to pay the levies and vowed that if he had his way in suing the government, he will join WAEC and NECO as defendants.

“Like I said, if I have my way of suing the government, I will join WAEC and NECO as defendants in the case because they are accomplices. Every year, the government will collect monies for services not rendered; and if you don’t pay, and they don’t sign for you, WAEC and NECO will not register your candidates. What is the connection between WAEC and the state? If I have fulfilled the required conditions for registration of candidates to WAEC, why will they not register, why will they refuse to register my students? So, the WAEC in Benue and the Government of Benue State are accomplices!” Read Fr. Atama’s interview here.

Like Fr. Atama and Rev Akem, the Education Secretary of the Catholic Diocese of Gboko, Rev. Fr. Ignatius Him, also decried the levies as well as the method of collection which he described as arbitrary. “I am very sure my colleague in Otukpo must have informed you; it is the same here. There are these arbitrary deductions; there are deductions for maintenance, for ICT, for all kinds of things and they do it in such a way that if they have a principal who is their staff, they deduct from the salary of the person. If the principal is not from there and they have a staff in our school, they deduct from there.

“Sometimes even our schools that are not grant-aided, when they go to do registration for WAEC and NECO, they insist that they must pay. Now, the worry is; you are deducting money for maintenance but they have not maintained any of our facilities; they don’t give us chalk, they don’t give us ball; they have not gone to put roof or zinc on any of the structures. So, we are asking; if you are collecting these resources, what are you using them for in calling it maintenance?” Fr Him queried.

According to Fr. Him, the initial sharing formula for the ICT levy was that the government would take for only 1st term while schools are to retain the levy for 2nd and 3rd terms to build their ICT centres.

“Initially it was agreed that we could collect for first term, let’s say N500 per student for first term but for second and third term, the school will retain the money to build an ICT Centre and then a Wi-Fi centre. This was just for one year. The following year, they wrote a letter and said they have revoked that. All these years that they have collected for first term, they have not given any of our schools a single, even outdated, laptop or desktop or printer, nothing like that.” Read Fr. Him’s interview here.

Frank Kyungun, TSB’s Executive Secretary, defended the collection of levies stating that the principals were not speaking the whole truth on the matter. According to him, maintenance fee paid by each student is two thousand naira and that of that amount, the TSB directed schools to keep N1,400 and remit six hundred naira only to the board.
Kyungun further revealed that the total amount of the maintenance levy collected by the TSB is shared between TSB, Ministry of Education and the Benue State Inland Revenue Service (BIRS). While the TSB and the Ministry of Education retain 75% of all levies collected for their operations, 25% is remitted to the BIRS.

Kyungun stressed that all the new buildings and equipment at the TSB office in Makurdi were built out of the proceeds of the maintenance levy collected from students.

Kyungun made these revelations when asked if the maintenance, provision of ICT, sports facilities and organisation of workshops is the duty of TSB. In his response, he said: “It’s not TSB hundred percent, we don’t build schools, but the school fees regime we are using that I came and inherited states that the TSB collects sports levy for 1st, 2nd and 3rd terms and remit 3½% to the Ministry of Education and then use the rest to organise sports in all secondary schools.

“The Ministry [of Education] collects quality assurance for 1st and 2nd terms and the TSB collects on 3rd term. The Ministry collects workshop 1st and 2nd terms while TSB collects only 3rd term. That’s the school regime and that’s what we have been doing, and the general maintenance fees is two thousand naira (N2000) per student every term. In this maintenance fees, we ask the school to retain N1,400 to maintain the schools and then to remit only N600 to the Board, are you listening to me, that is the sharing formula; all schools retain N1,400 to maintain their schools, in case the roof is blown off. They didn’t tell you how much they collect?” Dr Kyungun stated querying that principals did not tell National Record the whole truth.

According to Kyungun, TSB’s offices and facilities are being maintained with the pool of fund gathered from the N600 maintenance levy. He said: “Everything you see here, all the new buildings. You were here [Amos Aar] when His Excellency came to commission this block with well-equipped and air conditioned, that is what I used the money to do, see the fence; there was no fence here, I constructed all these; fence, the car park; it is the money I used to maintain the headquarters.
“That is why I said when they talk to you, what they say is different and what is on ground is different. Then the sports levy, we receive 1st, 2nd and 3rd terms and we conduct all secondary schools’ baseball, the all secondary schools’ games, the all secondary schools table tennis; we use to conduct all those games appropriately. Last year, 2021, it was the best all secondary schools’ games. So, we use the money as we collect and undertake the activities that they are meant for.”

Kyungun also revealed that he remits 25 per cent of the pool of fund from the N600 naira maintenance fee he collects to the Benue State Inland Revenue Service (BIRS).

“On the maintenance fees, I’ve not even finished. You see, the N600, we remit 25 per cent to BIRS…we remit 25 per cent and we retain 75 per cent. That is what we manage; that is, all the television here, everything here,” he said. Read Kyungun’s full interview here.
What this means is that rather than use the maintenance levy strictly to maintain the schools, the Board is instead using the levies collected as part tax to the state government and the remaining part to fund its needs while the schools are in ruins.

Although the regime of levies is not in doubt, however, the number or population of students in secondary schools is shrouded in secrecy. All efforts made by National Record to get the figure from Dr Kyungun failed. However, a highly placed source at the TSB told National Record that the population estimate of students in government, grant-aided and non-grant-aided schools is over five hundred thousand (500,000).
BIRS evasive
When contacted and asked to confirm whether or not the Benue State Internal Revenue Service gets a quarter of the levies from TSB, its spokesperson, Mr Suswam Terhemba Jacob, said he needed to confirm from the head of the tax agency, Mrs. Mimi Adzape-Orubibi, before responding.
For over a week, all efforts by National Record to get the BIRS to speak on the matter failed with Mr Jacob consistently claiming that the BIRS boss was not on seat and that other officers familiar with our inquiry were not available.
Arbitrary deduction from principals’ salaries and extortion
While the imposition of levies without commensurate reinvestment in schools is a challenge, the method of collection of the levies is another contentious issue which authorities of secondary schools are seriously grieving over.
In every school visited, the authorities decried the system of automatic deduction from the salaries of principals. Principals and proprietors of schools are grumbling over what they see as arbitrary deductions and they seemed helpless as to where to take their grievances, they however readily expressed their revulsion, describing the system as arbitrary and illegal.

A principal told this reporter that the nature of the deductions makes them to be in perpetual dread of paydays. When asked why, the principal who pleaded anonymity, said: “We principals are always afraid when a month is coming to an end because you do not know if you will have any balance in your account after deduction of levies. Sometimes, you have nothing left, sometimes you have less than the amount of your transport fare to and from Makurdi to your base. So many of us have been stranded in Makurdi after meetings with TSB because of these arbitrary deductions. Most often, we are forced to borrow to be able to return, it is as bad as that.”
Another principal, who also pleaded anonymity, told National Record that “principals and teachers are slaves of the exploitative system put up by the Ministry of Education and TSB. We are the ones paying the TSB and the Ministry of Education.”

Dropped Out

Mrs Ogori, wife of Mr Benjamin Ogori, the principal of GSS Ulayi, in a chat with National Record during the visit to the ruined campus, painted a very pathetic picture of her family’s bitter experience from arbitrary deduction of salaries. She said her husband has had a horrible experience of having his salaries deducted for several months even when there were no students to pay levies. As a result of the deductions, she said, her children had to be withdrawn from where they were schooling in Otukpo when there was nothing left to pay their school fees.

Corroborating Mrs Ogori, an indigene of Ulayi community, Agbo Samuel Otte, who operates nursery, primary and secondary schools under the name, Treasure Academy, said government still derives revenue from the dead GSS Ulayi. “The government still cut from the principal’s salary; the man is lamenting now. When the supervisors came, we tried to make issue but they said no, they can’t help him, that they must [deduct]; if the principal is here he will tell you. The man withdrew some of his children from school in Otukpo; they are here now, he couldn’t even fend for them; they are just here farming.”

A principal, in one of the government-owned schools in Benue North-west recalled how his Education Secretary scolded him for lamenting the lack of maintenance. He said the Education Secretary told him that he was being ungrateful to government. When asked why his school was in such a dilapidated state, and whether the government was aware of the state of the school, the principal said he had once incurred the wrath of the powers that be in the state’s education sector for pointing out the need to improve the state of his school.

Another principal from a grant-aided school in Benue-south decried both the levies and the method of remittance. He said: “We also pay levies but there is nothing from government. They are exploiting us; there is more exploitation than service. If I show you my salary chat since I came to this office, you will be shocked. At times, they pay me four naira; yes, four naira! They will deduct all the money; we even pay before school fees are paid, they deduct upfront.

“Sometimes they deduct based on the number of students they allocated to you, whether the students are there or not or whether they pay school fees or not, that is not their problem. When they don’t have any excuse to deduct, they will tell you they will supply you so and so. Now, they are telling us that they want to supply computers. They have not supplied yet but they have deducted our salaries, this was at a point that the students had not resumed. There is no month, from January to October that deductions are not done up to N106,000 a month.
“We are suffering in the hands of this people and they are not doing anything, nothing!… For grant-aided schools, they are supposed to aid us with everything, but rather than aiding us with everything, it is only in teaching, it is only in the payment of teachers’ salaries,” laments the principal.
Frightened by threats of sanction for expressing any grievances, principals who used to have some sort of magisterial authority within the precincts of their schools, have lost that capacity that enabled discipline in students and staff alike.
A number of principals refused to speak to National Record even when assured of anonymity. In every such case, when asked about the challenges they confront in the running of their schools, the principals who always looked visibly scared, will respond that they had been warned to never speak to anyone who does not present a clearance letter from TSB.

Fr. Atama in his interview with National Record compared deductions from salaries of principals to a landlord collecting rent before building a house. “I have principals who had to serve in our schools, have retired and our schools are owing them on deductions made from their salaries that they were not able to recoup from the schools before they were retired. We have them! At least I have three of them now!” Atama said.

He added: “Where a school is not able to raise this money from the students, they look for the principal of the school who is a government staff to deduct from his salary. Where the principal is not a government staff, they look for the most senior government staff in that school to deduct. When they deduct, the school is meant to pay back to the principal or the senior staff.”
For the NKST Education Secretary, Rev. Akem, the deduction of levies directly from the salaries of principals, is illegal. He said the Forum of Mission Education Secretaries had protested against the deductions to various functionaries of government and that despite a protest letter by Bishops and Heads of Churches in Benue State to Governor Ortom, the regime of deductions from salaries of principals persisted.

“Most of them [principals] are not comfortable with the principalship now, they say ‘what is it for? When people collect salaries and we have nothing! When I come to school, there is nothing, and I have children in school, what will I do?’ That is the complaint of most of them and that is our problem.

“We have taken this problem to respective government agencies; we reported it to ES himself, we complained to him; and the Commissioner himself and even the SSG. We even asked our leaders, our Bishops and our Church Heads to write to the governor and they wrote, but there is no response, the act continues. Deduction of principals’ salaries is one of the illegal things, so bad that we are getting in the system, it’s so bad!” Rev. Akem lamented.

TSB defends deduction

But the Executive Secretary of TSB again dispelled the complaints as untrue. In our interview with him, Kyungun said he did not initiate the levies. He however admitted introducing the regime of deductions of the levies from the salaries of principals or senior teachers.
He also said the decision to deduct directly from principals’ salaries followed a mutual agreement between the principals, under the aegis of the Benue State of All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), the TSB and the Ministry of Education.
Kyungun also noted that upon assuming office at the TSB, and discovering that principals were not remitting the fees they were collecting from students to TSB and the Ministry of Education, he convened a meeting with the state’s Commissioner of Education, ANCOPSS and ASUSS and explained to TSB’s dilemma in the collection of levies.
He said: “Why we deduct that money, I will explain, maybe you’ve heard a different version that is highly negative. A lot of people have been asking this kind of question. So, why do we deduct the levies from principals’ salaries?

“When I came here, there was crisis between the former Commissioner and the former TSB Executive Secretary and he ordered that all deductions should stop and he was no longer receiving any deduction from anywhere.
“When I came on board, that was the tradition. So, there was crisis between the former Commissioner and the former ES [Executive Secretary of TSB] and he ordered that all deductions should be stopped and he no longer receiving any deduction from anywhere.

“When I came, I had a meeting with the Honourable Commissioner and the two associations; the ANCOPSS and the ASUSS, their managements, and we told them the situation, that we cannot operate without deductions from you people. Why we deduct is this: these maintenance fees, sports levies and quality assurance, they are embedded into school fees received, so principals are supposed to collect this money and when they collect this money, they don’t remit; are you hearing me very well? They will just eat it all; they will use everything without remitting to the Board!

“Ideally, what they are supposed to collect is only the N1,400 for their maintenance fees and other PTA levies, that is what is theirs. Anything about sports, workshop and maintenance fees, the N600, they will return them to the Board. They don’t!… For over two years now, no teacher has taken even one naira… Once you remit, we don’t touch your salary, but once you don’t remit, I call them, and said what do we do?
“I called all the coordinating principals and I called all the principals meeting; listen; I said, you’re not remitting, what do we do? You receive this money and then you make use of it; you don’t remit, and this is a criminal fraud. If I report you to EFCC now, they will take it up with you, of course now, it is an offence, because the money belongs to TSB and you don’t give them, you remit; you collected from students in the school fees and then you used it without remitting. So, what they did was an agreement and it was signed before the Commissioner that they [TSB] should be deducting it from their salaries.”

Kyungun challenged these reporters to call any principal to disprove his assertion. He said principals’ usual problem is the several loans they owe banks which he said are always deducted at source by the banks. He alleged that this is why they are not able to make remittances of what ought to be returned to the government.

“Call any principal to come before me and let him testify that is not what they said, that was signed. The ASSUS signed, the ANCOPSS signed, the whole coordinating principals signed.
“There are times the situations are very difficult so the principals used the money without remitting. So, what’s the relationship that they will create so that it will be conducive for them and the Board, let them be deducting the money from their salaries. Up till now, as I am talking, most of the principals, they will take bank loans, they will have thrifts, they will collect loan in more than five places, if you go to their salaries self, you cannot even deduct anything because it is still minus, it is still zero; I am telling you!
“…Up till now, the money that the principals are owing TSB, both maintenance and sports that they’ve not paid is up to three, three terms that we are not able to recover. If we say we’ll recover, and I don’t know how we are going to recover it because, one, their salaries, they have already involved themselves in other facilities; they took loans and the salaries of most of them are reading zero, we don’t even see it. But those that are not reading zero, we deduct because it is based on the agreement that they agreed with us and signed; and they have the itineraries of their deductions; all the principals, they have; that this month we are going to deduct and none of them complained because they are satisfied because it is on the agreement.
“If they had not touched our own deductions, we wouldn’t have touched their salaries; is it not so?” Kyungun explained.
When asked why the TSB deducted levies from the salaries of the principal of GSS-Ulayi despite the school’s zero student population, Kyungun said TSB had “stopped the deductions over five months now; I directed; he wrote.”
The Executive Secretary said he has been worried by the situation of GSS Ulayi and that the decision to locate the school was not strategic, alleging that the location of the school was a result of political permutation.

“I went there almost three times. This Ulayi issue has been so disturbing to us. One, that school is not even strategic. Let us be very frank; it is not strategic; it was sited out of political permutation or manoeuvring; go and put a school in my village; how many people are there to be attending school? One, it is not strategic. Two, at this level, when we went there, there were grasses everywhere, the school was just as good as dead!”

According to Kyungun, in the effort to revive the school after one of his visits, he had asked the principal to see him in his office at Makurdi, and when he came, he asked his views on what was to be done.

“I asked the principal to see me in my office and when he came, I asked him; what’s the way forward, what do we do? He told me that what he would do is to go and also canvass and advertise but what it should be is that the school should be placed on free school fees, on zero school fees level.

“Then I said fine and good, go and canvass and tell me how many students will respond. Go and tell them that we are not going to receive any school fees so that it would motivate them to come back…

“So, I told the principal this and he went and after a term, he came to tell me that he was able to get about 20 students. I asked, how about the surrounding? He said he invited the community to come and help him weed the place so they did. He complained about deductions and I said he should write; I cannot just stop deduction unless you write and then we follow the normal procedure. So, when he wrote, I directed that they should stop any deductions from the principal. It’s over 7, 8 months now that we stopped deducting his money, that is the truth; ask the principal, just call him.

“Because of the situation he was facing. One, it was a zero school fees, so if they don’t get school fees, where does he get money to even give; so, I stopped the deduction from the principal’s salary. GSS Ulayi’s principal’s money has not been deducted for over 8 months now, I stopped it, the Board has stopped it until the situation improves.

“At some point when I called him, the Principal told me that even the 20 students that came, they went back and that he was having just about 3 students. So, I sent my team of quality assurance that they should go and talk to the community. They went and spoke with the community; it was even last month [May], yes. They asked the community; now that the school fee is free, what is the problem now? They said there are no teachers. Now, I transferred two teachers there; they refused to go and the principal didn’t tell me. When we transfer, we give the principal notification.

“After three, four months, the principal didn’t tell me. I don’t know how; they went and collaborated with the principal; they refused to go and the principal also stopped going there. So, when we discovered; we queried them from the office here; we called them and we asked them to go back, we gave them queries and asked them to go back to class,” Kyungun told National Record.

He said TSB’s monitoring team which visited GSS-Ulayi sometime in May 2022 reported back that it met three teachers, three staff and three students. He said it was unfortunate that he is hearing that it was only the principal that is now in the school.

“They said they met three staff and only three students. It is just very unfortunate that I am hearing this for the first time and I am going to take it up immediately on Monday (that’s 13th June, 2022). I am hearing this information for the first time. It is very unfortunate that GSS Ulayi that I have been on its issue for over two years since I came. That was my concern because when I went there, it was terrible,” he told National record.
ANCOPSS Speaks on decay and deductions, but ASUSS dithers

The Benue State President of ANCOPSS, Mr John Patrick Abah, corroborated Dr Kyungun on TSB’s agreement with principals and ASUSS on deduction of levies from principals’ salaries. Mr Abah, who is the principal of GSS Okpoga, however noted that no fund comes from the Benue State Government to its schools.

“Government has not intervened in many of the secondary schools in Benue State apart from some few schools in the towns; like in Makurdi, Aliade and other towns. In most of the rural areas, government has not intervened, and because of the intervention of private schools, community schools and faith-based schools, parents withdraw their children from government schools to such schools and therefore it affects the infrastructural development at the schools. That’s the basic reason why government schools are like that,” Mr Abah said.
On the agreement for deduction of levies from principals’ salaries, Abah said: “We entered into an agreement, a schedule was drawn of the levies we are to pay on monthly basis. They directed that we should pay, but on refusal to pay at the end of the day, then the salary will be deducted. So it was actually an agreement but many principals are not meeting up and as a result, the money has to be recovered at the end of the day because the Board needs to run also, the board has no other source of revenue. So it’s not an illegal thing.” Read his full interview here.
Efforts to speak to the chairperson of Benue State chapter of ASUSS, Comrade Samuel Omaji failed. When called on phone and asked for an interview on the state of education in Benue State, particularly the condition of secondary schools, Comrade Omaji asked National Record to first seek permission from either the TSB or the Ministry of Education to allow him to speak on the issues.
To be continued…
This investigation is supported by the MacArthur Foundation through the Wole Soyinka 

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