By James Ornguga and Jimin Geoffrey
The Benue State Government has closed down 2,424 nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary illegal institutions in the state.

Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Dennis Ityavyar made this pronouncement today during a press briefing held at the Old Banquet Hall of the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi.

Professor Ityavyar said the decision to close the illegal schools was borne out of Governor Ortom's resolve to provide quality and affordable education that would produce credible graduates capable of competing favourably with their counterparts elsewhere.

The Commissioner stated that illegal schools had contributed greatly to the falling standard of education in the society which in turn encourages examination malpractice and other vices.

"How can somebody operate a school in a garage in his or her residential house and we take our children there and call it school? We must begin to do things right as a people in the 21st century despite our challenges. This closure of illegal schools this time must succeed! Top politicians and individuals alike must support this exercise to succeed. They can do that by not interfering with the process."

He urged proprietors of such schools to abide by the closure or risk jail term, stressing that all the security agencies have been adequately mobilised to enforce the order while enforcement teams have also been constituted across the 23 local government areas of the state.

According to him, the closure is not meant to witch-hunt anybody or organization but to rid the state of illegalities and by so doing, raise the standard of education in the Food Basket State.

"Gentlemen of the press, ladies and gentlemen, I, Professor Dennis Ityavyar, Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology by the powers conferred on me by the Education Law (1982) Gazette No.1 Vol. 7 and acting on behalf of the Government of Benue State, hereby close Two Thousand, Four Hundred and Twenty-four (2,424) illegal schools in Benue State with effect from today, 15th August, 2017. This total is made up of 1975 Nursery/Primary, 435 Secondary and 14 Tertiary Schools.

The Commissioner said by this closure, "Parents of wards of the affected schools are advised to move them into the nearby public and other approved private schools at the beginning of the 2017/2018 academic session for enrollment."

Professor Ityavyar advised those whose schools are closed to come to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Headquarters to make inquiries on the procedure to re-open, stressing that those who open the schools without the ministry's approval would face legal action.

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