The Nigerian government has suspended the Registrar of the National Examinations Council (NECO), Charles Uwakwe.
This is contrary to earlier media reports that he was sacked by the governing council of the body.
There was no official reason given for his suspension but sources within the examination body suggest that it is not unconnected to an alleged award of multimillion naira contracts without the approval of either the Federal Ministry of Education or the Governing Board of the Council.
Not only Professor Uwakwe was affected by the decision. He was suspended alongside two deputy directors whose names have so far not been made public.
Confirming the development, Uwakwe told EduCeleb.com that the suspension would last for between four to six weeks.
In his words via a messaging system he wrote, “Thanks. Suspended 4-6 weeks” in response to enquiries on his status as Chief Executive Officer of NECO.
A source within NECO alleged that the embattled Registrar was said to have engaged in the recruitment of staff without the knowledge of appropriate authorities. He refused to comment on that.
Sources told EduCeleb.com that this development is coming two weeks after the Governing Council of NECO led by its Chairman, Abubakar Sadiq visited the Council during which he looked into the operations of the Council.
The Council reportedly observed that over 300 staff were “illegally” recruited without advertising the vacancies and clearance from the relevant ministry.
Uwakwe, who teaches at the University of Ibadan was appointed Registrar of the examination body less than two years ago when the appointment of his predecessor, Professor Abdulrasheed Garba was terminated in an almost time interval.
EduCeleb.com reports that within a space of three years, NECO had had its registrar changed four times. By the law establishing NECO, a registrar should last four years in office for a tenure that is renewable. But political decisions have changed that.
First, it was the sack of Professor Promise Okpala in February, 2015. Thereafter, there was Professor Monday Thommy Joshua who spent only 50 days as Registrar. He was succeeded by Garba, who handed over to Uwakwe.
With the latest development, the most senior director in the council, Alhaji Abubakar Gana has been directed to take over as Registrar in acting capacity, a source told us.
Attempts to reach the Head, Public Affairs of the Council, Alhaji Azeez Sani for an official statement on the matter were unsuccessful as at the time of filing this report.