Benue State Ministry of Education has reacted to claims and counter claims of the resignation of the erstwhile Executive Secretary of Benue State Teaching Service Board (TSB), Dr. Wilfred Uji Terlumum.
In a statement issued and made available to CAPITAL POST on Saturday by Mrs Cecilia Akegh, it described the former TSB boss as a man who is immersed in lies, while urging him to be truthful with the circumstances that removed him from the office he served in nearly four years.
The statement reads: “We have read with shock and disbelief, the outright lies and complete misrepresentation of facts in the public space peddled against the government of Governor Samuel Ortom by the immediate past Executive Secretary of the Teaching Service Board, TSB, Wilfred Uji Terlumun.
“An Associate Professor of History would ordinarily come across as credible, but despite Dr. Terlumun’s long years in academia and government, he could still deliberately disseminate skewed and malicious information against a government he served for some years.
“The Big Lie: Dr. Uji whose tenure as the Executive Secretary of the Teaching Service Board is to expire in November 2020 falsely reported that he voluntarily resigned from his position to return to his career in academics.
“Against all professional ethics, he said: “I have decided to disengage my services largely because my tenure was for a period of four years, 2016-2020.” The disengagement, according to him, “is to allow me enough time to process my reengagement with the Federal University, Lafia, where I took leave of absence as an associate professor of history. I have completed my tenure and will like to return to the university to achieve full professorial status.” This is far from the truth.
“The Truth: The former Executive Secretary of the TSB was actually asked to resign on Monday, April 1, 2020, when it became obvious that he could no longer competently man the high office he occupied. He was also insubordinate to the Government that appointed him as well as disrespectful to the supervising Ministry and its leadership. Rather than mend his ways, Uji went round lobbying prominent individuals and traditional rulers to have them intervene and stop his sack.
“Throughout his nearly four years as the helmsman at the TSB, Dr. Uji never followed laid down civil service rules nor recognized the need to work in harmony with his supervising Ministry. Rather, he derived pleasure in circumventing due process and cutting corners, acts that were inimical to the smooth operation of the agency he headed.
For instance, there are several cases of allegations of illegal deductions of salaries of principals of schools during his tenure. In one of such complaints made by the state wing of the All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, ANCOPSS on January 23, 2019, in a meeting held at the headquarters of the board, the State Chairman of the group, Michael Gondo asked that the erstwhile Executive Secretary of the Teaching Service Board be directed to stop deductions on Principals’ salaries since there were no receipts issued to give official backing to the deductions.
“Similarly, ANCOPSS in a representation to the Ministry demanded that receipts on all deductions from principals’ salaries in 2018 be issued to them. ANCOPSS also demanded in their complaint against the erstwhile Executive Secretary that principals of schools be adequately communicated with regards to any legal deductions and that all such deductions be specified in all communication between the board and the principals.
This, the former TSB boss never complied with. He rather proceeded to unnecessarily punish any principal whom he suspected to be outspoken.
“The former TSB Executive Secretary was warned severally via letters with ref No: MOEST/OFF/27/V1/40 dated 30/5/2018, MOEST/OFF/27/V1/144 dated 22/6/2018; MOEST/OFF/27/V1/154 of 23/10/2018 and another dated 26/11/2018 with ref no: MOEST/OFF/27/V1/159 to desist from illegally deducting salaries or levies from schools or principals.
“It is apparent that Dr. Uji was ignorant of the workings of TSB to which he was appointed to head. He was in constant disagreement with his supervising Ministry at every turn. For instance, he repeatedly refused to attend meetings called for by the Honorable Commissioner for Education. He insisted that if he must attend such a meeting, it must be held in his office. This continued throughout his tenure at the board.
“On the appointment of school principals, Dr. Uji erroneously assumed absolute rights and wished such rights be not questioned or subjected to an administrative oversight, forgetting that the law confers on the Ministry the right to appoint principals of government schools just as the law empowers proprietors to appoint Principals of their schools.
“He exhibited more acts of gross ignorance and insubordination when he chose to query the role of the Ministry of Education over agencies and departments under it while flagrantly flouting the same. For instance, in a letter dated 13th /02/2020, the former TSB boss wrote to the Benue State House of Assembly Committee Chairman on Education requesting for “Clear definition of functions and roles between the Teaching Service Board and the Ministry for Education” and asked for the need “to clearly define the boundaries between the Ministry and office of the Executive Secretary on duties, functions, and roles.” If he claimed that he didn’t know the functions, limits of authority and jurisdiction of the agency he headed, and despite his academic attainment, he should be educated that agencies and parastatals are supervised by the ministries and their commissioners. His inability to interpret his role at TSB led to his underperformance, gross misconduct and eventual forced resignation.
“Dr. Uji’s claim that no one briefed him on his schedule nor asked for his blueprint at the agency is a clear exhibition of either intelligence deficiency, mischief or both. Why else was an academic brought to heard such a sensitive government agency? He ought to have developed a work plan, given his experience as an academic, and developed a framework on how best to give the teachers in Benue state a fresh breath of ideas on curriculum development and transfer to students. But because he never understood his role, he chose to dump his inefficiency on the Governor, claiming that he had no time with the Governor to brief him. This is another tissue of lies which has no basis whatsoever.
“Dr. Uji lives a lie when he talks about integrity, painting the management of the Ministry, its commissioner and other top management staff in bad light and with foul language.
As we speak, there are many petitions from individuals and organizations against the former Executive Secretary of the Teaching Service Board over gross financial transactions amounting to several millions of naira he took as loans, using the office he occupied. One of such petitions from Jacmoses Global Resources Ltd dated 21/1/2020 is before the Secretary to the State Government and the Ministry of Education. These are acts bothering on gross ethical violations and breach of the code of conduct.
“The Ministry was also greatly dissatisfied with his style of financial management. Several warning letters were sent to him to desist from the practice with little or no success. A particular case in point was when he directed all school principals in the state to pay for his official portrait at the cost of N3,000 each. Even after parting with the said amount, not all schools took custody of the portrait which, in the first instance, was a clear violation of official directives.
“Dr. Uji makes false assertions that he believes in the principles of public accountability but had largely indulged in serious financial discrepancies. Teachers and other workers under the board who retired never got their retirement letters for more than one year until after each retiree was made to pay sums ranging from N5,000 to N10,000, to collect their letters.
“Under his leadership at the TSB, the transfer of teachers was for sale. Any official who wanted to be transferred was made to pay for his/her transfer.
“Another questionable behaviour Dr. Uji exhibited while he served as the Executive Secretary of the Teaching Service Board was his unexplained involvement in the financial transactions of the Multipurpose Cooperative Societies among the teachers in the state.
“In all of these, several verbal and written queries were issued to him to no avail. There were several intervention sessions to enable him to change but things got worse. He was therefore asked to resign on 1st April, 2020, to pave way for accountability and competence to return to TSB. His exit is indeed good riddance to bad rubbish.
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