Education Ministry Illegally Re-Appoints ‘Retired’ Directors, Deputies As Unity Schools’ Principals

NO fewer than 22 supposed retired Directors and Deputy Directors in the Federal Ministry of Education have been re-appointed as Principals of some Federal Government Colleges, FGCs, PRNigeria has learnt.

They were re-appointed after participating in a Computer Based Test, CBT, on the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th of last month (August).

PRNigeria gathered that 22 of them were retired at various points last year.

However, they never quit their positions as Principals of Unity Schools, when they were due for retirement last year, it was discovered.

It was also gathered that their retirement was necessitated by the fact that they had attained the mandatory age of retirement and also the required active years in service.

But credible sources in the Federal Ministry of Education told PRNigeria that the 22 re-appointed principals in question did not retire, initially.

“They remained in office, even though they were not on the government’s payroll any longer,” one of them said.

The Sources who did not want their names mentioned over fear of victimization, said top officials in the Federal Ministry of Education who conducted the CBT exam for prospective principals, may be behind the ‘reinstatement’ of the ‘retired’ principals (who were already Directors and Deputy Directors), having relied on a federal government circular which was only gazetted in April this year.

According to the sources, some serving principals, who are not yet due for retirement, were deliberately ‘screened out’ during the CTB exercise, to accommodate the 22 retired ones.

One of the sources, in a phone chat with PRNigeria, said those who facilitated the ‘retention’ of the 22 principals would have dubiously exploited the pronouncement of President Muhammadu Buhari on teachers’ service year, in 2020.

They also doubted if the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu is aware of the development.

According to him: “Buhari made the pronouncement on the elongation of teachers’ service year, through the Education Minister, Alhaji Adamu Adamu on the occasion of the 2020 World’s Teachers’ Day.

“But it was in 2021 that a Bill on the elongation of teachers’ service year was drafted and sent to the National Assembly.“

However, nothing was done on the Bill until late 2021 when the House of Representatives passed it, and then the Senate too, concurred, on the 9th of February 2022. And President Buhari signed it into law on the 7th of April 2022. There is already a gazette on this”.

The source went on: “Since then, those who are due for retirement have been kept in office, as they await an official pronouncement on whether to leave or stay.

“Many principals who are supposed to retire since 2021 before the coming of the bill, have continued to occupy their seats, even though they are considered to be retired”.

Another source, who said they are ready to ‘fight’ against the injustice meted on some serving principals schemed out during the CBT exam for principals’ re-appointment, however, called for Buhari’s intervention.

He said, “The re-appointment of the 22 retired principals is against the presidential directive on the elongation of service for teachers.“And has also invalidated the gazette that was released on the 7th of April this year, which states the requirements for the elongation and those that are qualified for the elongation”.

Meanwhile, PRNigeria gathered that an induction ceremony was held today for 112 Unity Schools’ principals, with the 22 re-appointed principals inclusive.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the Education Ministry, Ben Bem Goong, did not respond to our reporter’s multiple phone calls, at press time.