A motion, calling on the federal government to make all secondary school examinations for 2023/2024 free as part of measures to reduce the effect of fuel subsidy removal was rejected by the house of representatives.
The motion asking the federal government to pay the fees for the WAEC, NECO and UTME examinations for all students was on Wednesday was moved by Anamero Dekeri (Edo, APC).
This however was rejected by the lawmakers after a debate on the floor of the House.
Mr Dekeri noted that the removal of petroleum subsidy has affected low-income earners in the country, who are spending more on transportation and other services adding that since government has been able to save more money with the removal some of it should be spent in assisting families.
“With the cooperation of the masses, the federal government was able to deliver Nigerians from a few individuals that took the nation’s economy hostage through fuel subsidy payment conduit pipe that has plundered this country’s economy for too long.
“As a result of the removal of fuel subsidy, the government may have saved approximately (NI7, 200,000,000.00) seventeen billion two hundred million naira only, daily from a few cartels that have been sucking the poor masses,” he said.
In order to allow the average person to directly profit from the withdrawal of fuel subsidies, he made a plea to the House urging them to push the Ministry of Education to proclaim the registration for the WAEC, NECO, and JAMB examinations in 2023 and 2024 to be free.
He also begged the lower House to press the Minister of Finance, Budget, Economic Affairs, and National Planning to develop a strong framework that will provide the impoverished masses in Nigeria with a feeling of identity.
Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo), the House Leader, contested the resolution in its entirety and suggested an amendment requiring each member to adopt schools in their constituency and cover the associated costs.
Alhassan Doguwa (APC, Kano), however, rejected Mr. Ihonvbere’s amendment, claiming that some members were already covering constituency examination fees.
Speaker Abbas Tajudeen then called for a vote on the amendment, which was ultimately defeated by a voice vote.
An amendment was made to the motion by Olumide Osoba (APC, Ogun) suggesting that state governments should assume responsibilities.
Morruf Afuape (APC, Ogun) also proposed an amendment stating that only public schools should receive the benefit.
The House then voice-voted to approve the two amendments from Messrs Osoba and Afuape.
Awaji-Inombek Abiante (PDP, Rivers), however, asserted that it is discriminatory and against the spirit of the nation’s Constitution to exclude private schools from government policy.
“We have taken an oath not to go against the constitution, and excluding some people would be discriminatory,” Mr Abiante said.
As a result, he moved a motion that the entire motion and the amendments be stepped down by the House and speaker put Mr. Abiante’s motion to a vote, and it was approved.