Governor Ortom of Benue State
Governor Ortom of Benue State

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in Benue state, plans are underway for the digitisation of the board to eradicate sharp practices.

This was disclosed to the agency by the Executive Secretary, Benue Teaching Service Board (TSB), Prof.Wilfred Uji, on Tuesday.

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Uji, who recently replaced Mr James Pine, said as part of efforts to be ICT-compliant and also check excesses and leakages, the body would depend more on digital processes than manual processes.

The process would start out with the creation of a website that would serve as a source of information on all the state’s schools and staff members.

This, he said, would reduce the chances of manipulation of the loopholes in the system.

“There are enormous challenges beginning from the board, which is the think-tank, to the principals down to the field; accounts are manually driven and I intend to computerize the entire system to block all leakages.”

He regretted that owing to the multiplicity of thrift and cooperative societies, some of which were illegal, unauthorized salary deductions were going on.

The executive secretary assured that all illegal cooperative societies would be de-listed.

“We will block all leakages, reconcile all contradictions and work toward restoring the confidence of teachers to the board and to the administration of Gov Samuel Ortom because the board constitutes 40 per cent of the salary wage bill of the state.”

Uji also admitted that there were challenges in the issuance of receipts, regretting that sometimes the Ministry for Education authorises levies on students without the knowledge of the board.

“The relationship between the board and the ministry is symbiotic and in most cases, such dialectical relationship can be conflicting, especially in the absence of a governing council for the board.

“The ministry collects sports levy, which is clearly outside their mandate.

“We have also not authorised the collection of N500 levy for the issuance of identity cards for secondary school students in the state.

“Anybody collecting such money is illegal; it is not from the board and has not been directed by me.”

He, however, assured that the board would purge of all bad eggs, “we will sift the system and achieve result-oriented goals and clamp down on illegal recruitment rackets”.

“Things have gone wrong and we are going to fix them,” Uji said.

He said the state had 300 schools with a student population of 800,000 while staff strength was 6000. That is a ratio of one teacher to every 120 students.