REVEALED: Primary School Pupils In CRS Make N19 Million Payment For ‘Sick Bays’

There are indications that government officials in the Cross River State Ministry of Education are using a subhead to pocket a princely N6.3 million a term from the 25, 436, 000 (twenty five thousand, four hundred and thirty six) pupils in the state public school system.

An independent investigation carried out by, over a course of more than four months, shows clearly that at the beginning of the COVID – 19 pandemic, the smart government officials quickly sold a bait and got government approval to collect what was termed a “COVID – 19 fee” of N250 (two hundred and fifty naira) per child across all public primary schools in the state. Sensing that this nomenclature may become obsolete once the battle against the pandemic is won, a quick name change was done and the charge was now christened “Health fees”, with strict instructions to head teachers that this fee must be collected.

When we contacted Betta Edu, the state Health Commissioner, who should ideally know about ‘health fees’, so collected, she distanced herself from this collection and further added that she had no knowledge about how this COVID – 19 fee a.k.a Health fee, was pushed through and collected. She further demonstrated no enthusiasm to discuss this issue even though we could readily pick through her displeasure at this charge.

But Godwin Amanke, Commissioner for Education, when contacted, maintained to that the money collected will be “used in building and equipping sick bays in the schools. We have already started work and we will build sick bays in schools across the three senatorial districts in the state.” He however did not point us to any sick bay under construction or one constructed and functional in any of the senatorial districts.

By simple mathematical calculation, at N250 per child, N6.3 million a term, this charge amounts to a staggering N19, 077, 000 (nineteen million, seventy seven thousand naira per year) taken from these pupils. Inside sources within the Education sector in the state swear that this money is applied to private pockets, they however were afraid to point the pockets when pushed for more information.

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