Three students of the Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos State, have been suspended indefinitely after their parents petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over the way funds were managed by the Parents Teacher Association, PTA, of the institution.
A fourth student escaped suspension because he passed out of the school before the punitive action was taken.
Some of the parents were guests on a television program on Television Continental, TVC. The parents said their call for the PTA to explain how about N23 million was spent by the association led to them being tagged rebels and marked for punishment with their children being at the receiving end.
Mrs Falilat Oluwashogbon, whose child was suspended with two others, said the problem started in 2022 when the association held its Annual General Meeting, AGM.
Oluwashogbon said: “When the PTA chairman presented the financial report, some of us raised questions about how some funds were spent. For instance, the salary of PTA teachers was said to have increased to N23 million from less than N15 million the previous year. That is when no new teacher was employed and no salary increment was done for the teachers.
“There were a lot of discrepancies in the records. They also said they spent over N1m as a sitting allowance for PTA exco. They also said they spent N1 million on sports when each student pays N1,000 per term for sporting activities. The situation led to some parents raising eyebrows about the spending and they refused to accept and adopt that report.
“Surprisingly, those of us who raised concerns about how the funds were being spent were removed from the Telegram group that parents, the principal and even some teachers belong to. The portals of our children, who are the students there, were blocked. When we waited for some months and nothing was done to redress the situation, we petitioned the EFCC.”
Another parent, Pius Sodje, a lawyer, said his child was almost prevented from sitting for last year’s WAEC and NECO examinations.
Sodje said: “At the AGM, the leadership of the PTA threw a figure at us as what they spent and which they wanted us to adopt. We said no. Apart from some of the things that Mrs Olushogbon mentioned, they said they spent millions of naira on preparatory classes by students. This is not necessary; we pay N500 per child per term for prep classes. I asked for an explanation, but none was given.”
The Chairman of the PTA, Mr Shola Tokede, who also appeared on the programme, faulted the claims by the other parents.
Tokede said: “The problem started from the time we had an election in 2021 for a new exco of the PTA. Some of those levelling these spurious allegations lost out then. Mrs Olushogbon wanted to contest the chairmanship of the body but was disqualified because she didn’t meet the set criteria. In a setting like that, it is not everybody that will be in support or against it.
“As for the allegation that the PTA mismanaged over N80 million, only the accusers know where they got that figure from. We didn’t mismanage anything. All the expenses and the incomes were duly accounted for.”
Asked what he has done or is doing to defend the rights of students suspended for not committing any offence, Tokede said it was based on the regulations laid down by the Federal Ministry of Education.
“I am not the one running the school and I am also not the owner, there is a memo from the Federal Ministry of Education that any parent who goes to court over any issue relating to their children’s schools would have their children suspended until the matter is withdrawn or settled in the court.”