Education, Healthcare Still Free In Delta—Govt

Delta State Government has announced that it has no plan to abolish its free education and free healthcare schemes in the state.
A statement issued yesterday by the Chief Press Secretary to the state Governor, Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu, said that the clarification has become necessary on account of rumours making the round, especially in the social media that the programmes have been suspended.
“We wish to state categorically and in line with the administration’s SMART agenda that the free education scheme in primary and secondary schools and the free health care schemes in our hospitals in the state are still operational and nobody should pay any form of fees for them,” the statement noted.
“For the avoidance of doubt, any official who collect any levy in our schools and hospitals should be reported to the relevant authority and the full weight of the law will be visited on that person”.
In a similar development, the state Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, asserted that government has no plan whatsoever to re-introduce payment of school fees in public primary and secondary schools in the state.
Deflating the rumours in Asaba, yesterday, Ebie, who said that there was no iota of truth in the rumour, urged Deltans to discountenance the wicked rumours in its entirety.
Ebie was reacting to the rumour that the state government was planning to re-introduce payment of school fees with effect from the forthcoming 2015/2016 academic session in the state,
He said that the state government was not in any way contemplating that at all, considering the fact that the governor has education as one of top priorities in his SMART Agenda.
“The state government is not in any way, considering the re-introduction of payment of school fees in public primary and secondary schools in the state”, he said, adding that he does not really know where the rumour originated from.
“I really don’t know where this rumour originated from. One thing that I can say for certain, is that the state government is not considering re-introduction of school fees in public primary and secondary schools in the state at this time or anytime soon”, the commissioner added.
According to him, the present administration in the state under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is irrevocably committed towards bringing qualitative education to Deltans, stressing that there was need for sustained efforts in sanitizing primary and secondary education in the state for enhanced service delivery and productivity.
Reacting to the rumour, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Delta State Wing, Comrade Jonathan Jemirieyigbe said that he believed vehemently that the development was a mere rumour because, according to him, there is a national policy on free and compulsory primary and basic education in the country, which the state government cannot set aside.
Jemirieyigbe ,who is also, the Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Delta State Council, said that many children of school age would be forced out of school if payment of school fees was re-introduced in the state, adding that payment of school fees at the primary and basic levels of education would bring about monumental increase in the number of out of school children in the country which is put at over 10.5 million by the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
He said that the state Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has demonstrated sincere and genuine commitment towards raising the standard of education in the state based on the way and manner he has attended to issues relating to teachers and education sector in the state since he took over.