Troubled by an acute shortage of teachers in its primary and secondary schools, the Imo State Government has hired 1,000 professionals.
The Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, who disclosed this yesterday in Owerri, said the newly engaged would get stipends with renewable terms and conditions.
He explained that some 400 workers, who had virtually been doing nothing, would be redeployed to the state’s 303 secondaries and 1,800 primary schools.
Ikegwuoha said 20 principals were demoted and others suspended.
The former Imo State University (IMSU) teacher noted that the Governor Hope Uzodimma administration had started implementing the 2010 White Paper issued by the Ikedi Ohakim government on downsizing and rightsizing.
The exercise, he added, had exposed employees with falsified records that would face prosecution at the end of the day.
He said a website was recently created with those details, advising those with payroll issues to visit the platform instead of complaining of non-payment of salaries for 10 months.
Result of the verification indicated that some of the teachers were drawing emoluments at over 60 and 70 years of age, using the First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) as a yardstick.
His words: “We used the First School Leaving Certificate as a yardstick to determine that. There are those who are 70 and still collecting salaries. We will prosecute them and they will refund the money.”
On those he demoted, he said: “I went to the schools, I drove myself and demoted 20 principal and suspended many.”
Regarding the misunderstanding between the state government and the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Ikegwuoha advised the unionists to approach him rather than threatening to embark on strike on January 25.
On the ownership of Eastern Palm University, the commissioner reiterated that the state government-owned the institution100 per cent, insisting that both the land and funds were owned by Imo government.
He faulted former Governor Rochas Okorocha for claiming 90 per cent ownership, stressing that the Ogboko institution in Ideato South Council of the state remained under lock and key.