Some troubled parents in Kano, a few weeks ago, complained that their sons were sexually defiled by some unknown perverts at their boarding school, the famous Hassan Ibrahim Gwarzo College, Kano. The case soon became a sensation, for, among other reasons, that was least expected from a school known for its regimentation and Islamic teaching to its separated male and female students. The state government promptly ordered the closure of the (male) section and set up a committee to look into what exactly happened. Following an unsettling delay, the report was, last week, finally released. The delay was allegedly caused by some big shots in the state who did not want it released.
No doubt what happened in the College is appalling and deserves the government's drastic action to unearth and punish whosoever is found wanting and guilty. The government was generally hailed for the way and manner it handled the case, though before its final, however inconclusive, resolve to relocate the affected graduating (i.e. SSS 3) students to sit for their exams conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) to other schools. I am, for once, puzzled beyond wording.
As I mentioned earlier, the report is still inconclusive, hence there is only sketchy information on the overall recommendation made by the committee. I however heard on Freedom Radio, Kano “Inda Ranka” program of Thursday 24th December, 2015 that the government had paid forty million naira (N40m) as exam fees for the 70 final year students relocated to Andal Science Academy, Kano; Turkish International School, Kano; and Akilu College, Kano. This amount is by all accounts very staggering. This is more than half a million naira per head. Is it for GMAT that perhaps requires them to travel to the UK or what? No.
Lest you don't grasp the situation, Kano state government has been screaming that it doesn't have money, hence its serious need for loan and the increase of the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Some portions of the loan was already collected, while the procurement of the IGR is about to kick off and other several austerity measures are being considered. Yet, the government disbursed those monies for handful elite's sons. To say this is a misplacement of priorities is understatement. It's a squander. I have however got some questions and suggestions for the state.
First, why was it the government’s liability to pay for their examinations? Ordinarily, the government pays only for the students of its schools, but never a private one. It used to be for both WAEC and NECO, but that too was reduced to only one exam: WAEC. Second, why wouldn’t the school as a profit-making business venture pay? To save money and avoid any backlash like this one, the government could, in fact should, have quietly transferred them to one/some of its numerous schools. If public school is not ‘befitting’ for them as kids with silver spoons, there are several private ones far less costly than Andal, Turkish and Akilu colleges.
I am all the more bemused by our almost collective silence on the issue. Nowadays students in tertiary institutions in the state are resorting to begging on radio stations to pay for their tuition fees. They lamented that they thought the education was free as declared by the previous government. Others who cannot do that will have to give up on their aspiration to study, and perhaps end up as thugs, prostitutes, hawkers and so on. Are these not Kano indigenes or what? They deserve the same or similar pampering treatment, but they do, and will, not, get.
I thus call on whoever, please, can assist to forward my (our) fears and prayers to the appropriate authority to reconsider that decision. We praise the government's effort to address and dress the sickening issue, but the financial ‘sidekick’ is undeserving, in fact uncalled-for. Thanks.
God bless Nigeria, God bless Kano State, amin.