The House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected a motion calling on the federal government to make all secondary school examinations for 2023/2024 free as part of measures to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.
The motion, moved by Anamero Dekeri (Edo, APC), asked the federal government to pay the fees for the WAEC, NECO and UTME examinations for all students.
However, the motion was rejected by the lawmakers after a long debate on the floor of the House.
Moving the motion, Mr Dekeri said the removal of the petroleum subsidy has been crippling low-income earners in the country, who are spending more on transportation and other services.
He said the government has been able to save more money with the removal of petroleum subsidy and should spend some of it 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.
He prayed the House to urge the Ministry of Education to declare 2023 and 2024 WAEC, NECO and JAMB examinations registration free, to enable the common man have a direct benefit of fuel subsidy removal palliatives.
However, the amendment by Mr Ihonvbere was rejected by Alhassan Doguwa (APC, Kano), who said some members are already paying examination fees of constituents.
The amendment was subsequently put to vote by Speaker Abbas Tajudeen and it was rejected through the voice vote.
Olumide Osoba (APC, Ogun) moved an amendment to the motion that state governments should take up the responsibility.
Morruf Afuape (APC, Ogun) also moved an amendment that the benefit should be for only public schools.
The two amendments by Messrs Osoba and Afuape were adopted by the House following a voice vote.
However, Awaji-Inombek Abiante (PDP, Rivers), said excluding private schools from government policy is discriminatory and against the spirit of the country’s Constitution.