As the students in the Nigerian secondary schools are resuming nationwide for the 2017/2018 academic session, a group of parents of students in the Federal Government owned secondary schools across the country under the aegis of Unity
Schools Parents Forum has called on the National Insurance Commission to constructively see to the controversy generated by an insurance scheme facilitated by NICON insurance in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education. This is to avert an impending turbulence that the scheme may generate across the country
at the students’ resumption.
According to the spokesperson of the group, Kingsley Akindele, “this controversy has been on for a while, and the parents in different capacities had over the years made their positions known on the scheme. Therefore it is very essential for the
parent to once again call the attention of the public to the fraud that is going on in the sector. The parents at different forums had stated it unequivocally that the N5000 insurance scheme premium per student in federal government owned schools is not acceptable. It is unfair that the parents would be made to be paying for a scheme
they knew nothing about.”
Speaking further Akindele said, “Trouble is eminent in the schools as some schools are already refusing parents who have paid their school fees without the insurance fees to convert their bank tellers to their respective school receipts. The major
concern of most parents is the alleged diversion of the money for personal use by the management of the Jimoh Ibrahim owned insurance company.”
“It is expedient to recall that in 2016, we call the attention of the Federal Government, through the ministry of education and especially the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to look closely at the scheme which no parent
seems to understand. The entire parent is yet to understand the nitty-gritty of the contract and the facts about the actual arrangement the unity schools through the Federal Ministry of Education have with the NICON insurance company.”
However Akindele said most of the parents are not against the scheme, “but want it to be transparent, with clearly spelt out terms and conditions and reviewable annual contract agreement. This most importantly must be optional.”
Meanwhile, the NICON insurance scheme in the secondary school has been generation controversy within the sector for a while, most of the parents considered it as a major fraud committing against them and wants the federal government to live up to its responsibility in administering the schools, it should abe recalled that in 2015, the National Association of Parent Teacher Association of Federal Government Colleges (NAPTAFEGC), South-west Zone, during its quarterly meeting at the Federal Government Girls’ College, Akure, Ondo State rejected what it described as the imposition of an unnecessary insurance policy scheme on students of unity colleges and called for the standardisation of education in the country.
The association made its position public during its March 2015 quarterly meeting at the Federal Government Girls’ College, Akure, Ondo State, where chairmen of NAPTAFEGC from the 18 colleges in the zone discussed issues including the way forward for education in the region.
According to the Zonal Coordinator, Rufus Famuwagun, the association, which he described as the strongest stakeholder and partner in progress to the Federal Ministry of Education, is out to defend, uphold and sustain the vision of the founding fathers of unity colleges.
Though the chairmen saw nothing wrong with an insurance policy for their wards, they argued that the federal government has adequate funds to bankroll the insurance policies for the school children and spare their parents the financial burden Also in 2016, The National Association of Parents and Teachers of Federal
Government Colleges, an affiliate body of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), says it will not accept N5, 000-insurance fee in unity schools.
The former Chairman of PTA, Federal Government College, Kwali and North Central Zonal Coordinator of
National Association of Parents and Teachers of Federal Government Colleges, Mr Ehis Ogbeide, told newsmen in Abuja at that time that the association was not concerned about the old N1, 500-insurance scheme which had fizzled out on its own but would not accept the introduction of another fee.
NICON Insurance scheme was introduced to all students in the federal government owned secondary schools otherwise known as the unity secondary schools throughout the country in 2015. Since then, it has continued to generate abysmal
controversy, where the majority of the parents claimed that the annual N5000 per children is of the high side, which means over 200,000 students from 104 unity schools nationwide will equal to over a billion naira annually. And most importantly, the parents have never in any way contacted or contracted into the scheme by the
insurance company, the school authority or the federal government.