Thursday 27 April 2017


Press statement

The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns in strong terms the unwarranted hardship meted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on applicants for this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

Stories of different degree of hardship experienced by this year’s UTME candidates and their parents is rife in the media. From congested registration centres to highhandedness of security operatives, there are indications that JAMB is about to organize one of the worst examinations in the history of the board.

The JAMB officialdom has tried to justify this unnecessary hardship as an inevitable consequence of the innovations and reforms it has had to introduce to make the admission process more resistant to manipulation and cheating. We beg to disagree.

As we have argued severally, so long as shortage of admission spaces continue to exist, the admission process will remain brutally competitive and as such continue to succumb to malpractice, manipulation and racketeering. Therefore unless government addresses the problem of shortage of admission spaces by improving funding to the education sector and ensuring that these funds are judiciously used to expand facilities in the existing tertiary institutions while establishing more, no effort to curb examination malpractice and racketeering will succeed.

As all can see, despite JAMB’s efforts over the years and that of others to address the problem of examination malpractice and admission racketeering, these challenges continue to rise astronomically. Even with the introduction of Post-UTME, admission manipulation and racketeering has not abated. The reason for this is not farfetched. It is simply because JAMB’s and government’s aspirations to rid the admission process of malpractice is anchored on entirely false assumptions and perspectives.

Government and JAMB erroneously believe that examination malpractice is a crime that can be curbed through the development of tighter controls and monitoring as well as deployment of technology to strengthen the integrity of the examination process. This was the reason why the examination body launched the Computer Based Test few years ago. But instead of the CBT reducing examination malpractice, it has been riddled with all kinds of complaints. Especially in the prevailing condition of inadequate computer illiteracy and little or no infrastructure to support it, the CBT has only succeeded in putting the examination process in further chaos.

The underpinning reason for the endemic nature of examination malpractices and admission racketeering remains the inadequate admission spaces in the public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education and the rabid competition this has created in the hearts and minds of admission seekers and parents. Only improved funding and expansion of the carrying capacity of existing tertiary institutions as well as a plan to establish more can begin to eliminate the conditions and motivations for examination malpractice and admission racketeering.

Although JAMB claims that it registered over 600, 000 candidates in the first few days after the commencement of the registration, media reports still show that times two of that figure are facing varying degrees of hardship as far as registration is concerned. There are reasons to believe that the centralization of the registration exercise is in the hand of JAMB, and certain vested interests alone, has hugely congested the whole process beyond what the examination body can handle. We therefore call for a return to the decentralized process of registration where candidates can freely walk into any cyber cafe to register for UTME with little stress.

However, JAMB is equally giving Nigerians reason to believe that the self-induced difficulties experienced currently are part of systematic plans to prune down admission seekers from the beginning. This may be in bid to prevent bringing into limelight the inadequate spaces in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions that are not commensurate with figures of teeming population of admission seekers. Already, the examination body has made the choice of private institutions compulsory for Nigerians, who obviously cannot afford the outrageous fees of these institutions based on the analysis of current income and inflation rates.

The worsening crisis of admission in the country, as it has been reiterated by the ERC many times is a product of poor funding and neglect of Nigeria’s public education system. A paltry spending of 8-10% of the nation’s budget is earmarked for primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the country. This means, among other things, that existing institutions cannot be expanded to meet up with growing rate of admission seekers. It is quite unfortunate that a country like Nigeria with its worrisome record of “out of school” children operate budgetary policies that discourage mass literacy. The recent reports of looted revenues have shown for all to see that Nigeria has the economic stamina to implement UNESCO recommendation of 26% budgetary allocation to education on yearly basis.

We are therefore certain that commitment of significant revenues to developing public education would ameliorate glut of admission seekers as currently experienced. The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) put the blame for 2017 UTME registration crisis at the door step of the Buhari-led government, and call on education workers’ unions, parents and civil society groups to renew the struggle for improved funding of the education sector and democratic control and management of schools.

Hassan Taiwo Soweto                                                          Ibukun Omole                               
National Coordinator                                                           National Secretary

Monday 24 April 2017





The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) strongly condemns the Alhaji Yahaya Bello-led Kogi State Government’s failure to meet the demands spelt out by the staff unions in all the state-owned institutions who have been on strike for several weeks.

We also demand improved funding of public education and provision of adequate teaching facilities at all levels of education in the state.

We equally condemn police violent repression of students who turned out for a protest on Monday 24 April 2017 over the continuous closure of their schools as a result of the on-going strike. Three (3) of the protesting students were arrested and later released. For us in the ERC, the arrest is unlawful and a violation of the students’ fundamental rights. If the Kogi state government does not want protest, all it has to do is to meet the demands of the striking education workers’ so that students can resume their studies.

As far as we are concerned in the ERC, it is the insensitivity of the Kogi state government that has made the striking education workers not to call off their 93-day old strike which has led to the closure of all state tertiary institutions. Students have been at home for over three months now, many of whom have missed their chances for mobilization for National Youth Service, yet with no hope in sight for even the next batch; even law students are already missing chances of going to law school.

All state tertiary institutions have been on strike since the 16th of January 2017 (with the exception of Kogi State University which joined on the 3rd of February due to Examinations going on at the time) over arrears of salary owed them by the government.

We in the ERC believes that the State Government led by the All Progressive Congress (APC) has enough resources at its disposal to meet all the demands of workers in Kogi state and also that of the education workers in the state-owned tertiary institutions, considering the different bailout reportedly accumulating to about forty billion naira (40billion) which the Federal Government has given to every state of the federation including Kogi State.

The demands of ASUU and other staff unions in the state-owned tertiary institutions are what a serious government should have no problem in meeting in order to end the crisis and save students the agony of further disruption in the academic calendar. Unfortunately, and going by his handling of the current strike of education workers in the state, the Yahya Bello-led Kogi state government is an anti-poor government that has no regard for public education or the welfare of workers.

Past and present governments of Kogi State have always hidden under the cover of low budgetary allocation by the Federal Government to the State as reasons for the government’s inability to provide free, functional and quality education for her people. We had seen in the past situation where primary and secondary school students protested to support their teachers when they embarked on a strike that lasted about a year.

It is our contention that the State Government has not shown enough concern about the three month-old strike because politicians’ wards are not affected by the strike. Most moneybag politicians often enrol, using stolen public funds, their children in expensive private tertiary institutions both within the country and abroad while leaving the children of the working class and poor masses to struggle to acquire education in schools that are not fit for learning. This is a signal that unless students are prepared to join forces with the striking staff unions to force the State government to meet their demands, there will be no hope of when the strike will come to an end.

We therefore call for united actions of workers and students in the state to take the struggle to the next level by naming a day of actions beginning with public meetings and mass protest to compel the Kogi State Government to meet the demands of the striking education workers.
We therefore demand that:

           The Yahaya Bello-led Kogi State government must immediately meet the demands of staff unions so that students can go back to school

           Immediate payment of all arrears of salary and pension of workers and retirees in the state.

           Government should put in place measures to ensure the security of students’ welfare and academic activities from further delay and disturbances.

           We demand improved funding of education up to 26% of the budgetary allocation as recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). We are against the 6.5% budgeted for education in the state this year.

           We also demand democratic management of schools to block corruption and mismanagement and to ensure that funds allocated together with Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) are judiciously used for the improvement of public education in the respective schools.

Usman Teresa
Kogi State Coordinator

Tuesday 18 April 2017


ERC Calls for Reversal of hiked fee and other exploitative charges
For Unconditional Restoration of Students’ Union and an End to Intimidation of Student Activists
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) calls for immediate reversal of hiked fees at the University of Jos and proper funding of the institution by the Federal Government. Against the background of the economic hardship in the country, we consider the fee hike insensitive, vexatious, anti-poor and clearly exploitative.

We equally condemn the decision of the University of Jos management to force students to pay a N1, 000 levy for the rebuilding of a burnt library in the institution as an attempt to exploit students and dispossess them of their parents hard earned money.

Recently, the management of University of Jos led by Professor Seddi Sebastian Maimako hiked fees for returning students from N27, 400 to N45, 000. To rubberstamp this anti-poor increment, the UNIJOS management convened a kangaroo parents/guardians meeting at which students union representatives and genuine parents were prevented from speaking. In a cynical and vexatious manner, the Vice Chancellor claimed that by increasing fees to N45, 000, he is merely implementing a Federal government directive to the effect that no fee in any federal tertiary institution should be higher than N45, 000.

But contrary to Prof. Maimako’s fraudulent interpretation, this policy was apparently introduced by the federal government apparently to put a ceiling on fee hike against the background of the reckless manner Vice Chancellors had been increasing fees over the years. Before now, fresh students in UNIJOS paid something between N71, 000 and N100, 000 while returning students paid N27, 400. Now to implement this policy, the UNIJOS management decided to reduce the outrageous fees of fresh students to N45, 000 while jerking up the fee of returning students to N45, 000 thereby effectively recouping whatever shortfall the University may have incurred as a result of the reduction made in fresh students’ fees.

As far as we are concerned, the responsibility to fund public education is that of the government. As the custodian of Nigeria’s resources and wealth, it is the government’s responsibility to make available the funds necessary to ensure that all people of school-going age are able to attend standard and quality public schools so that they can in turn contribute the knowledge and skills acquired towards the country’s development and progress. The actions of the Prof. Maimako-led University of Jos management is an attempt to pass this responsibility to parents.

As we write, the N45, 000 fee hike is being imposed on hapless students in a despotic and violent manner despite the public opposition already expressed by the students union and even some staff unions. A climate of fear and terror now envelopes the campus as Prof. Maimako and his minions are on the prowl to intimidate and victimize anyone that criticizes the hiked fee in any way. Infact for speaking up against the hike, the UNIJOS management dissolved the Students Union and replaced it with a Caretaker committee – an affront on the right to independent unionism. According to a press release by the office of the UNIJOS Vice chancellor, the Students Union was dissolved for the following reasons:

“the decision of its members to convene a meeting of Students without due approval from the Directorate of Students Affairs which resulted in a protest where the Students were carrying placards against the School Administration for implementing a Federal Government directive of new School Charges for all Federal Government Universities. The SUG officials had similarly mobilized Students to attend the Stakeholders meeting with parents uninvited and were shouting down parents during the course of the meeting. The Vice-Chancellor adduced other reasons for the dissolution to include externalizing an internal issue affecting the University without following the acceptable laid down procedures for conflict resolution in the University, intimidating and issuing threats to law abiding Students including fresh Students who are willing to comply with the payment of the new School Charges. The SUG officials were also accused of maligning the Principal Officers of the University including the Vice-Chancellor on various media platforms including the social media while misinforming members of the public on the action taken by the University Authorities in the process of implementing the new School Charges.”

            Now by a new circular, the University’s governing council has resolved to reinstate the Students Union so far each of the Union officials is prepared to do the following: (1) Write a letter of apology to the management for tarnishing the image of the University in the public domain (2) Pledge to be of good behavior and maintain good discipline and (3) that they do not introduce any discussion on the approved new charges of N45, 000.

The target of all these is to intimidate the union leaders and severely limit students’ freedom of expression and association so that they will not be able to resist the implementation of the fee hike. We oppose this despotic method and call on the Prof. Maimako-led UNIJOS management to stop violating the students democratic rights to freedom of expression and association. Most importantly, we call on the mass of UNIJOS students not to give up on their rights to speak up and resist injustice. We urge ASUU, NASU, NASU, NAAT chapters of UNIJOS, civil organizations and the labour movement to speak up and condemn this assault on democratic rights and the anti-poor increment of fees in UNIJOS.

Hassan Taiwo Soweto                                                             
National Coordinator (07033697259)            
Ibukun Omole  
 National Secretary