We Acted In Adherence  To The Law To Expose Criminality – Nwadike

Imo State Commissioner for Education Prof. Johnchiff Chike Nwadike has been accused of  demoting four high ranking school principals in Imo State to classroom teachers without following due process. 
Victims of this injustice were Mrs. Ngozi Okereke of Orji Comprehensive Secondary School, Mr. Uzoigwe Chukwuemeka of Okwe Secondary School Onuimo, Ikeduru, Mrs. Augustina Obi of Nnyeshi Community Secondary School and Mrs. Billy Nwoko Queen of Ikenegbu Girls Secondary School, Senior Section.

Narrating her ordeal to Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper, Mrs. Billy Nwoko Queen, Principal, Ikenegbu Girls Secondary School (Senior Section), said,  
“On the 15th of May, 2024, 
We had so many visitors in our school  including the Commissioner for Education, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Education Board Members, AE amongst others. They asked me how the West African Certificate Examination (WAEC) was going, I said fine. 

After the English Language Examination, I got a call from the Executive Secretary (ES) who said that she heard I was collecting #1000 each from the exam candidates for examination malpractice.  I told her that I did not do such a thing and did not see anywhere they were collecting any money in the school premises for examination malpractice. 

“I further  narrated how I called all the 285 students on the 30th of April and told them to read, prepare for the exams and pass on their own. I bluntly told them that I am not part of expo and I am not part of any examination malpractice.

(It is on record). I told them not to pay any dime for malpractice.

“I also told her that I got information that the students had a meeting within themselves and resolved on their own to contribute some money to give their supervisors for transport. I did not tell any student to pay any money and did not ask any teacher to collect any money from any student. She said that the Commissioner will call me. After a while, I got a call from the Commissioner and he asked me to come to his office. I went to his office on the 16th of May by 11 am. 

“I was still waiting to see the Commissioner when I started receiving calls from my school that the Executive Secretary was in our school and was forcing them to accept that they paid 1000 to me. Some of them agreed to lie against me while some refused. The Head girl refused to lie against me.

“When I finally met the commissioner, he asked me what happened, I told him that I did not ask any student to contribute any money for exam malpractice but I heard that they decided on their own to contribute money to give their supervisors and he said since I am aware of the money they are contributing and kept quiet, that I am incompetent and asked me to leave his office. I left.

“The next day, the Executive Secretary came to my school and went straight to the Hall where the students were taking literature-in-English and announced to the students, supervisors and external invigilators from WAEC that I was collecting #1000 from the students for expo, therefore have been demoted to a classroom teacher. Just like that. After the announcement, she came out and showed me a Memo in the presence of everyone, declaring that four of us have been demoted to classroom teachers. She then announced that the Junior Secondary School Principal is now the Senior Principal of Ikenegbu Girls Secondary School.

“When I asked why I should be demoted to a classroom teacher, the Executive Secretary told me that one of the Exam candidates in my school, told her father who is a lecturer in Imo State University that I mandated all the students to pay #1000 each, then her father called the governor of Imo State, Gov. Hope Uzodinma and the governor asked the Commissioner to dismiss me immediately but I was fortunate enough to be demoted instead of dismissed from service. I asked her why they choose to disobey the governor’s order to dismiss but instead choose to demote me?

“I want to unequivocally and categorically state that I did not ask any student to pay any money for examination malpractice. Many schools around collected bulk money from students for this WAEC but I did not. The students on their own agreed to contribute money and give their invigilators. This is applicable in every school” 

Mrs. Nwoko Queen queried why a level 16 high ranking officer like her should be demoted to a classroom teacher as punishment for committing no offense, without due process, proper investigation and scrutiny. She described such treatment as unacceptable, unethical and demands for justice.

While interrogating with other victims of the demotion, they stated that they are suspecting conspiracy, blackmail and campaign of calumny against them especially because they are not from Orlu zone.

According to the teachers, no panel of enquiry was set up to look into the matter and no investigation was carried out, adding that the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Nigerian Teachers (ASSONTS) are not aware of the incident and unjust demotion. 

The Principals also revealed that the unjust treatment has negatively affected them and their families especially healthwise, stressing on the impact the fake news about them that are trending on different print, social media and news platforms have on their good reputation which they have laboured to build over the years. 

They authoritatively declared innocent of the allegations leveled against them and demanded for thorough investigations to be carried out by relevant authorities to ensure justice prevails.

When contacted,the Education Commissioner,Nwadike confirmed the demotion of the said Principals.According to him,they were all guilty as alleged and in order to save the system and serve as deterrent to others,such drastic measure became necessary.

When asked if a panel of inquiry was set up to investigate the the principals now demoted to class room Teachers,Hon Nwadike said yes.”The ES and I interviewed them and found out that they were guilty of the offence,hence our action”.