The Federal Government has said it has not decided on the location of the new six (6) Colleges of Education recently approved, describing letters purportedly emanating from the Federal Ministry of Education and circulating in the social media as fake.
Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Ben Bem Goong, told Tribune Online on the telephone on Sunday that the Ministry was appalled by the fake letter purportedly signed by the Permanent Secretary, Arc. Sonny Echono.
“I’m aware of the letter. The Permanent Secretary showed it to me on Friday. It is fake. We will do something about this before havoc emanates from it,” he said.
There was confusion when two letters were written on the same date and addressed to Mr Gboyega Oyetola, Executive Governor of Osun State, from the Federal Ministry of Education with the same signature carrying different approvals for the location of the new College of Education in the state.
Curiously, while one of the letters indicated that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a College of Education to be located at Iwo in Iwo Local Government Area of Osun State, Nigeria.
The second letter said President Buhari has approved the establishment of a College of Education to be located at Ila Orangun, Ila local government of Osun State.
The two controversial letters dated 16th April 2020, all addressed to Osun State Governor entitled: “Approval of the Establishment of new College of Education in Osun State was purportedly signed by the Permanent Secretary, Arc. Sonny Echono.
One of the letters read: “I write to inform your Excellency that Mr President has graciously approved the establishment of six (6) new Colleges of Education across the six (6) geopolitical zones to address the emergency education needs of the country particularly in the states where such federal institutions do not exist.
“Consequently, the president has approved the establishment of a College of Education to be located at Iwo in Iwo Local Government Area of Osun State, Nigeria.
“In view of the above, a Technical Term from the federal Ministry of Education (FME) and National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) would be visiting your state to review and inspect the location from 11th May 2020 to facilitate early take-off.
“Kindly accord the members of the Team necessary cooperation as they liaise with State Officials (Hon. Commissioner and his team) to ensure adequate arrangement for the commencement of academic activities by October 2020.”
In apparent contradiction, paragraph two of the second approval letter carried Ila Orangun, Ila local government of Osun State as the location of the College of Education.
The Ministry of Education spokesperson, Mr Ben Goong when contacted denied that no such letter emanated from the Ministry, saying the Ministry would issue a statement on the new colleges soon.
A source at the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), ascribed possible political undertone to the confusion being created, saying the location of a public institution is usually a subject of controversy in some states.
“I’m not aware of such letters but the Federal Ministry of Education will resolve that. Citing Federal institutions is usually a subject of controversy. Maybe some people want it cited in their place,” the source who is not in a position to speak for the commission said.