The National Examinations Council is currently verifying its workers and examination officers in its bid to fish out those in possession of forged certificates and to sanitise the examination system.
The Staff Certificate Verification Committee, which was set up by the acting Registrar of the council, Mr Abubakar Gana, has a mandate to verify and query the certificates being used by NECO workers.
The registrar set up the committee, headed by the Director of Human Resource Management, Mr Mustapha Abdul in 2019, in line with the council’s policy of zero tolerance for corruption, with the registrar directing that the committee should fish out any worker using fake certificates.
The council told our correspondent on Wednesday that about 157 members of staff of NECO had cases to answer concerning their certificates. It added that they were invited for further screening by the Verification Committee.
It was also discovered that 89 workers had been indicted by NECO and confirmed to be using fake certificates.
The council’s Governing Board has directed that the 89 workers are not only dismissed from NECO, but also their files should be transferred to the police and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission for prosecution.
Of the 89 dismissed workers, NECO said on Wednesday that most of them are Executive Officers and General Duties personnel. Meanwhile, five of them are Chief Examination Officers, four are Principal Examination Officers while six are Senior Examination Officers.
The first phase of the big stick wielded by the council started on November 15, 2019, when the Governing Board directed that 70 of the 89 workers be dismissed and quit from work henceforth.
NECO’s Verification Committee had contacted the schools and tertiary institutions which the affected workers claimed they attended and found out that they did not obtain such school’s certificates.
“The committee contacted the schools which the affected workers claimed to have attended but the institutions denied them. On completion of the assignment, the committee submitted its findings to the NECO management which forwarded it to the NECO Governing Board.
“At its 17th extra-ordinary meeting, the Governing Board vetted the report and approved the dismissal of the affected staff. The acting Registrar has no tolerance for corruption and is sanitising the system in line with the President’s anti-corruption stance,” the NECO Head of Information and Public Relations Division, Mr Azeez Sani, explained.
The second phase of the verification exercise took place in February 2020 and 19 workers were found to be in possession of fake certificates.
The Governing Board of the council, led by the Chairman, Dr Abubakar Saddique, reconvened on February 25 for its 52nd Regular meeting and approved the dismissal of the affected staff.
“The NECO’s Governing Board approved the dismissal. The Staff Certificate Verification Committee carried out its assignment diligently by inviting some workers with questionable credentials to appear before it, during which the affected personnel attested that their certificates were forged. The certificate verification exercise which is ongoing is aimed at sanitising the system,” Sani added.