By Soter Momoh
Contrary to reports making the rounds in a section of the media, indications have emerged that teachers in schools owned by the Nigeria Police have not been exempted from the new retirement age.
As part of the activities marking the World Teachers’ Day (WTD) on October 5, 2020, the federal government announced an extension of the retirement age of teachers from 60 years of age and 35 years in service to 65 years and 40 years, respectively.
To that effect the Federal Ministry of Education issued a circular on January 26, 2021, titled: “Implementation of the New Retirement Age and Years of Service for the Teaching Profession.”
The circular by the Permanent Secretary, Arc. Sonny S.T. Echono, read in part: “This is to inform you that the Federal Executive Council at its meeting of pi
Wednesday January 20, 2021, approved 65 years and 40 years as retirement age and years of service respectively for the teaching profession.
“Implementation of this new scheme is from January 1, 2021. It should be noted that the new retirement age/years of service is not automatic; as officers will be required to demonstrate fitness after medical examination and those found to be unfit will be advised to retire accordingly.”
Similarly, President Muhammadu Buhari on June 2, 2021, transmitted an Executive Bill to the Senate, seeking extension of the retirement age for teachers.
The Bill was conveyed in a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who read it out at the start of plenary, however, further details of the legislation would be discussed on another legislative day when the lawmakers begin the process of its passage.
Though the Bill is yet to be passed into law, there appears to be agitations among teachers in police schools over the implementation of the new retirement age.
In sponsored articles by people who preferred to be anonymous, they claimed that the fate of hundreds of teachers in police primary and secondary schools across the country are in the balance, over uncertainty on the implementation of the federal government’s circular on new retirement age for teachers.
Findings by this newspaper, however, showed that nothing was farther from the truth, as the Force Education Officer (FEO), CP Rabi Umar, in a memo dated May 10, 2021, and addressed to Directors, Heads, Zonal Offices 1-17, Research and Planning Office 1-6, Commandants Police Secondary Schools, and Head Teachers Police Children Schools, conveyed the information as directed.
The memo titled: Re: Teachers Of Police Children/Secondary Schools Age/Years Of Service For Nigerian Teachers, read in part: “Find attached a copy of the letter received from the office of the IGP on the above subject.
“You are requested to bring the content of the attached circular No; FME/HRM/S234/1 dated January 26, 2021, to the attention of all concerned.”
In the same vein, information from IPPIS has also indicated that there must be government White Paper on the constitution amendment before the implementation of their service extension from 34 to 40 years and 60 to 65 years whichever comes first.
When contacted, some teachers in the police schools in Abuja confirmed the circular from the FEO but expressed worry over the delay in the implementation of the presidential directive.
“Well, I am aware that the Force Directorate of Education has conveyed the information to Police schools, however, what we are bothered about is why the implementation has not started,” a teacher in the POWA school in Abuja, who asked not to be named, said.
On his part, a senior police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak, said that there are processes to such a circular, stressing that the Bill on the matter was only recently sent to the National Assembly urging for patience.
“You know that it was a circular with caveat, which is requisite qualification and medical fitness.
“So even if it would be implemented, which would be, the process of verification of academic qualification will take place, and then the issue of medical fitness will follow.
“Also, the President just sent the Bill to the National Assembly and bearing in mind that the previous age and year of retirement was a constitutional matter there is need for the appropriate section(s) to be amended before implementation,” the senior police officer said.
Similarly, one of the vice principals in one of the Police secondary schools, who assured our correspondent that they were aware of the presidential directive, however, faulted the circular by the permanent secretary.
“The Permanent Secretary Arc. Echono ought to have waited for the passage of the Bill and the government whitepaper before sending out circular on implementation. All this confusion is because he went ahead to issue such a circular stating that January 1, 2021, was date for commencement of implementation without recourse to the rule of law.
“He acted unprofessionally for a career civil servant and has succeeded in misleading those affected. Moreover, all those that were supposed to be retired are still working as we await further directives.
“I am also not not aware of any circular from the FEO stopping anyone’s salary. The directorate is not even directly involved with salary payment because we are on IPPIS,” the vice principal, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent.
Further findings showed that some officers may have seen the impressive development of police owned schools of the country under CP Rabi Umar and believe that it was a cash cow and not dedication and commitment, therefore, are angling to give her bad press and see her pushed out.
“It is unfortunate that people will tell lies just to see that they have their way. Because CP Rabi Umar has repositioned these schools and they are all wearing new looks and have quality output, some people are bent on seeing her pushed aside in the hope they will be named into her position. “If it is not so, why will anybody say she has refused to obey the directive of the FG and IGP? Who is the police officer that can do that,” another senior police officer queried.
Efforts to get reaction the Force Headquarters on the development was not successful as at the time of going to press as the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), CP Frank Mba, and the FEO could not be reached on phone and did not respond to text messages sent to them.
Lawan decries backward trend in education over insecurity
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has decried the current trend of insecurity in the country that is taking its toll on the education of the younger generation.
He therefore challenged every stakeholder in the Nigerian project to come together to reverse the ugly situation before education becomes an anatherma especially in the north.
Lawan spoke to newsmen at the First Solo Exhibition of Paintings and Photographs by Stephen Binos at the weekend in Adamawa State.
This was contained in a statement issued by his media office.
He said the current trend of insecurity in the country is a very sad development whereby education is suffering especially with so much kidnapping of school children especially the girl child.
“In northern Nigeria, education has always been a problem and it is making it worse with this kind of abduction of students either in Islamiya school or normal secondary school or even in tertiary institutions like it happened in Afaka in Kaduna State.
“I believe we should continue to fight this kind of insurgency, the banditry for us to restore normalcy in our country for our country to make progress.”
Lawan said that school children in the north are deprived of education, particularly the girl child, as a result of persistent abductions and kidnappings by armed bandits.
He however, expressed the confidence that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would continue to do all in its power with the support of the National Assembly to reverse the spate of insecurity across Nigeria.
The Senate President added that the issue of insecurity plaguing the country is a challenge that must be prioritised and tackled jointly by all tiers of government for results to be realised.
He said: “I want to assure everyone that this administration, the Muhammadu Bihari APC administration, will continue to work hard to bring back security to this country.
“It is a challenge, but I believe that it is for all of us – the Federal, States and, the Local Government and all the communities and ethnic groups across the country.
“This is a situation that needs all hands on deck regardless of what you believe in. We all need to survive first before we achieve any excellence and I believe we can do so well.
On the First Solo Exhibition of Paintings and Photographs by Stephen Binos he said Nigerian leaders must make tangible effort to encourage the youths to be productive and contribute meaningfully to national development
Binos is the son of Senator Binos Dauda Yaroe who is representing Adamawa South in the Senate who exhibited the artworks to shiwcase the culture of the people of Adamawa State.
The Senate President, used the occasion to challenge the Nigerian youths on the necessity to preserve the country’s diverse cultural heritage through expressive means.
He explained that doing so would in turn preserve its traditional values against extinction from the overwhelming external influence of technology.
“I have gone round to see the art exhibition, display of various artworks by Stephen Binos and I’m really very impressed by what I have seen and I want to congratulate the man of the moment, Stephen Binos, our artist.
“What this gentleman has done is to document history, document very important moment and these artworks will remain historical.
“Art is a language that everybody speaks and you can see from the attendance here. There are diverse people here. Some came from Europe, America and what have you and everybody understands his Language.
“The situation today, across the world really demands that we are able to document some of these very historical and very important artworks because technology, while it is a blessing to all of us, has its own way of undermining our culture.
“I believe in keeping to my culture because it doesn’t in anyway stop me from being modern and contemporary but it enriches my thinking, my orientation and my behaviour and attitude.
“I believe we can take example from the Japanese. They still eat sitting and probably using hands.
“The Chinese still use sticks to eat and they stick to their culture and they are making it and we can do the same – keep our culture, value them.
“Really, that does not stop us from being modern. Adopting the technology developed elsewhere and modifying them to fit our purpose here in the country.
“There is a popular saying that a picture speaks more than a thousand words. I’m impressed to see the various communities in Adamawa reflected here.
“This is the kind of thing we need to encourage our youths. If someone choses to go this path, he should be encouraged to continue to excel and do well.
He said whichever way leaders can encourage the youths in this country, to be productive, to be focused and contribute to national development would be welcome.
Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic, calls of suspension of academic activities, resumes 17th June
From Abel Daniel, Lafia
Isa Mustapha Agwai I Polytechnic Lafia on Thursday called off its three months old suspension of academic activities following students protest that led to destruction and vandalization of the school properties
The Academic Board of the Polytechnic at its emergency meeting of Thursday 17th June, 2021 approved the immediate reopening of the institution with effect from Thursday 17th June, 2021.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Registrar Mr. Zamani Habu Ibrahim which was made available to journalists in Lafia, the state capital.
According to the statement, all returning students are required to come with Letter of undertaking to be of good behaviour to be endorsed by a top civil servant of not below the rank of a Director in the Public Service, Clergyman or Traditional ruler.
It also directed all students to complete all registration processes including payment of school fees on or before Friday 25th June, 2021.
It directed that a fine of N5,000.00 be paid for damages of the Polytechnic properties.
“Students are to note that the second semester Examinations for 2019 /2020 Academic Session commences on Monday 28th June, 2021.
“Accordingly, students are to make all payments remotely through the school portal(https://portal.imap.edu.ng..ed.ng/imap). Students must present all payment printouts using their passwords.”
College expels staff over alleged child molestation in Nasarawa
From Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia
Shepherds International College, Nursery and Primary School, Akwanga, of Nasarawa state has expelled one of its staff over alleged child molestation in the primary section of the school.
A statement signed by the principal of the college, Mr. Peter Adoga-Adoga and was made available to the NationalUpdate in Lafia, on Thursday, said a case of rape that was reported in one of the national dailies did not happened in the college, but Government Secondary School Ube in Akwanga local government area close to Mopol barrack, Akwanga.
He admitted that the incident of child molestation happened in the primary section of the college.
According to him, “The staff in question was expelled on May 14, 2021 and the matter is before the Criminal Investigation Department, Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital.
He added that the incident occurred in one of the secondary schools in Akwanga local government area of the state.
The statement reads, “Our attention has been drawn to report being circulated in the media about a rape case in shepherd’s International College, Akwanga.
“We wish to use this medium to set the record straight. First, the case referred involving one Mr Ndam Atiku, where the school is mentioned was not a case of rape, but a case of molestation as captured on the headline and the body of the story.”
According to the statement, the incident did not happen at the College, but at the Primary school section, where the staff had since been relieved of his duties immediately.
“The case is already before the State Criminal Investigation Department and being investigated.
The statement further added that the minor mentioned in the story was not the person involved in the incident neither were her parents those that reported to the NGO.
“She heard the story, informed her parents, who brought it to the notice of the school, which prompted the investigation by the school and subsequent disciplinary action on the staff.
“We would like the general public to know that Shepherd’s International College and Shepherd’s Nursery and Primary School do not tolerate any acts of indiscipline or child molestation,” he added.
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