The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Monday threatened to withhold results of candidates in 19 states who wrote the May/June 2015 West African Senior Certificate Examination (WASSCE) over non payment of exams fees by their state governments.
The 19 states according to the WAEC Head of National Office (HNO), Mr. Charles Eguridu, owe the council over N4billion for examination fees of their candidates for the May/June 2015 WASSCE and also few in 2014.
Eguridu who briefed newsmen on the debt issue along side some management staff at WAEC national office, Yaba, Lagos, gave the affected 19 state governments two weeks to settle their debt and warned that the council would not release the results of their candidates if they failed to meet up the deadline.
His words: ‘’As you are aware, the council has successfully conducted the May/June 2015 WASSCE and is working assiduously to ensure that the results are released on schedule.
‘’Again, as you aware, many state of the Federation, as part of their education policy, pay the registration fees of candidates for the WASSCE, particularly in their public schools. This is quite commendable as it has afforded many indigent students the opportunity to sit our examinations and relieved many poor parents of this financial burden.
However, this obviously good gesture has come at a price to the council. As I speak to you now, we are cash-strapped as a result of the delay in off-setting the registration fees owed the council by some states. As a result, we are finding it difficult in meeting our financial obligation, particularly to our supervisors, examiners and service providers.
‘’A total number of 19 states in the country are owing the council in respect of entry fees for state government sponsored candidates for the May/June 2015 WASSCE. Some states also still owe the council registration fees for the May/June 2014 WASSCE.
‘’We have written to the affected states governments without any response. The poor response of debtor states is threatening the smooth operations of the council.
‘’We, therefore, want to publicly plead with the affected states to off-set the registration fees of their candidates as soon as possible, as we cannot guarantee that the results of their candidates for the May/June 2015 WASSCE will be released along with others.’’
Speaking further on the debt issue, the HNO said the council wrote to the affected states six months ago and only one responded but crave the indulgence of the press to withhold the names of the 19 states involved.
Eguridu however warned that at the expiration of the two weeks ultimatum for the affected states to off-set the debt, he would be forced to make the names public when releasing the results of the May/June 2015 WASSCE.
When pressed further by newsmen to reveal names of the affected states, Mr. Eguridu explained that the states owing the council over N4billion cut-across the six geo-political zones noting ‘’we want to give the states benefit of doubt. You know some these states have new governors. So, we want to give the new governors some time to off-set the registration fees for their candidates’’.
According to him, ‘’when the states requested to be granted credit, we allowed them. It has been the practice for a long time. WAEC does not have another avenue to source for funds to run its operation. We are still owing many of our examiners and supervisors because of the non payment by the 19 states’’.
He traced the debt situation to the current melt down affecting the states and hoped the old/new governors would pay the May/June 2015 WASSCE registration fees to avert the withholding of their candidates results.
The HNO assured parents and the over 1.2million candidates that sat for the May/June 2015 WASSCE that the results would be released in two weeks time even as he praised the examiners, supervisors and WAEC staff for ensuring the successful conductor and marking of the answer scripts within the stipulated time.
Eguridu used the opportunity to inform Nigerians that the council discovered two fake website that post fake questions to attract candidates thereby defrauding them of huge sum of money. He said the website syndicate operate from Badagry and Ekpoma.
The WAEC boss revealed that those involved in the fake website to deceive candidates were arrested and are being prosecuted. He warned candidates not to patronize operators of such fake website noting ‘’in last five years, our questions have not been compromised because of several mechanism put in place’’.