NEWS | Page 55 | IMO STATE GOVERNMENT

Imo Govt. spends 40bn Naira on free tertiary education

Drops non-indigenes

The Imo State government says it has spent over 40 billion naira on its free tertiary education policy since inception.

The State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, made the disclosure at the Heroes Square in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

He was speaking during the ongoing revalidation and verification exercise organised for Imo indigenes who are beneficiaries of the free education programme in all state-owned tertiary institutions in the state.

Addressing the students, Governor Okorocha who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, noted that the state government has decided to concentrate on Imo indigenes and drop non-indigenes from the programme.

He explained that the state government has spent about 40 billion naira to sustain the policy, adding that it would have to drop non-indigenes from the scheme as Imo indigenes in other state-owned schools across Nigeria do not enjoy such benefit.

The governor, however, assured the students of the government’s commitment to sustaining the programme beyond the life of the present administration.

However, some of the students disclosed to newsmen that the free education programme has actually helped them achieve their dreams of a better and higher educational standard without payment.

A student said “because of the free education, I could achieve a lot in the medical school. I have not paid a dime since I got admission into the university. If not for the free education, I don’t think there is a way we can do it but I just thank the government for giving us the free education”.

Recall that at the inception of the Governor Okorocha led administration in 2011, education was declared free at primary and post-primary levels in all public schools in Imo State.

The government subsequently extended the gesture to all the state-owned tertiary institutions on February 14, 2012, including the Imo State School of Nursing and Health Technology.

As an extension of the free education programme in November 2012, the government slashed the tuition fee of non-indigenes schooling in the state-owned tertiary institutions by 50%.

N-Power makes progress in Imo

Some beneficiaries paying rapt attention during a verification exercise in Owerri, Imo state capital.

As organizers move to address irregularities

By Chuks Nwokeji

The N-Power programme introduced by President Muhammadu Buhari for unemployed Nigerians is gradually making progress in Imo State, as beneficiaries took turns on Tuesday 7th February, to testify about the reality of the programme in the state.

Some of the beneficiaries interviewed during a verification exercise organized at Imo International Convention Centre (IICC) Owerri, testified that they have received their December stipend.

The verification exercise was organized to address challenges due to irregularities in Name, Bank Verification Number (BVN) and other errors committed during the online registration of the programme.

A graduate of Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) Ezeocha John and Emelu Kizito, were among those who revealed to Pressmen that their December stipend of N30,000 have been paid and they were expectant of the January stipend.

In her speech, Deputy Chief of Staff Domestic and Internal Affairs, Honourable Mrs Ogechi Ololo, said the essence of the exercise was to verify the beneficiaries for further deployment to their places of primary assignment.

The Deputy Chief of Staff assured the beneficiaries of their preparedness to ensure that all their problems are solved and encouraged them not to lose hope.

According to her “everything went well, Federal Government is hiring about 13000 Imo citizens. So far, about 3,385 Imo citizens have been verified. Many may think the programme is not real, but it’s real, it’s a great opportunity for the youths.”

Lending her voice, the Deputy Chief of Staff External Affairs Mrs Mma Nzeribe-Micheals described the scheme as a wonderful package, designed to employ about 500,000 Nigerian graduates, stating that it is a promise made and fulfilled by President Muhammadu Buhari.

It was a well attended event by the beneficiaries and the officials took time to attend to them in a humane, peaceful and friendly manner.

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