There is confusion in the Anambra state school system following the discovery that a teacher currently serving a jail term is still drawing.
Tension mounts on officials of Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board after the unveiled grand coverage of a primary school teacher who has been serving a six month imprisonment but still being paid her salaries by the school management.
Mrs. Agnes Uzoyibo Agbanusi also known as Mrs. Agnes.U. Izuegbunam by marriage was a primary school teacher at Community Primary School, Uruagu Nnewi before she was convicted on May 8th 2015 at Magistrate Court Nnewi.
She was sent for confinement at Federal Prison Onitsha without option of fine based on Criminal Charge No. NMC/23C/2010 but continuously receiving her salary, thus fraudulently cheating the government of the state.
The problem of Mrs. Agnes started on September 10th 2009 when she went to Nigeria Police Area Command, Nnewi and told them that one Berthrand Onwunzo came to their house at Nnewi to allegedly kidnap her husband, Benneth Izuegbunam.
Making her statement at the police office, she said that Berthrand came on September 1,st 2009 around 8.30pm with six hefty men whose faces looked strange to her and they covered their faces with black spectacles, wearing black suits.
Agnes further said that Berthrand even asked her daughter, Chiamaka, in a hard tone the whereabout of her father and she replied that her father had gone to his place of work at Chief Magistrate Court Nnewi for night duty.
That at this point, Berthrand threatened that her husband’s life was in danger and he would no longer be a citizen of Nnewi.
On the strength of this information, the police went for the manhunt of Berthrand at Chief Magistrate Court Nnewi where he had an existing case against the husband of Agnes over land issue.
Immediately the police on mufti accosted him at the court premises, held his shirt and said he was under arrest, Berthrand ran away and jumped into his lawyer’s car. During the investigation made by Nigerian Pilot, it was learnt that he took that option because he couldn’t identify the men on mufti and was driven to the law office of his counsel, Barr. Olisaeloka Osuigwe.
A petition was sent to the Commissioner of Police to enquire what was his offence and Berthrand was invited to the State Criminal Invesigation Division, SCID, Awka.
He was narrated all the allegations leveled on him by Mrs. Agnes Izuegbunam but in his defense, he told the police that he was outside the shores of Nigeria on that very date,September 1st, 2009, having travelled to Paris with his family for holidays.
To prove his alibi, Berthrand presented his travelling documents and it was discovered there was visa in the international passport which shown that he left Nigeria on August 20th 2009 and came back on September 2nd 2009.
Therefore, as evidenced by the stamp of the Nigeria Immigration Service, the police found that Berthrand would have been in Nnewi on September 1st when he was alleged he came for the kidnapping.
However, the police charged Agnes Izuegbunam to court for the offences of conspiracy to bring false accusation and giving false information to the police.
Though, the allegations made by Agnes in order to incriminate Berthrand was not unconnected with the family land dispute among them.
Agnes said that her husband had a land dispute with Berthrand and when the parties tried to settle it amicably, it always hit the rock and it gave way to rancor, acrimony and bitterness.
“He always boasted that he would not mind spending millions of naira to pursue the case.” She stated.
At the end, during the pronouncement of the judgment at Chief Magistrate Court, Nnewi before his Worship, Obiora Obidike Esq, Mrs. Agnes regretted for her actions and pleaded guilty, saying, “the mistake has been made, I am pleading that I made a mistake. Kindly forgive me. May it please the court.”
While Agnes is serving her sentence concurrently, her receiving salaries from the school she was teaching became worrisome to some concerned citizens in the state. This has equally exposed the lapses of the state Education Board in having routine inspection and assessment of their 10,596 teachers in the state.
The confusion in ASUBEB strongly lays bare on who could be used as the scape goat in the process of fishing out the person or persons behind the covering up of Agnes’s salary payment.
Already, Berthrand Onwunzo had sent a petitioned tagged ‘—An ex-convict for continuous receiving of salary as civil servant and passionate plea for immediate dismissal as a civil servant’ to the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha, the Chairman of Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board, ASUBEB, Awka, Olisa Nzemeka among others on this development.
He urged that all appropriate quarters to stop paying salary to somebody already sentenced to imprisonment should investigate the matter.
“ I therefore humbly pray you to use your good offices to order immediate investigation into this matter and treat this matter efficiently and accordingly and bring the culprit to book and order for her immediate refund of the whole salary paid to her from the date of her conviction and her immediate dismissal from civil service if found guilty.” Berthrand state
In her reaction, the Education Commissioner told the Correspondent that “ I am not aware of this development but we shall investigate on it before making detailed statement. Anybody that receives salary and doesn’t work for it is unacceptable under Governor Obiano’s administration.”
The ASUBEB boss also said that from all indications, the office has not gotten any formally report on the issue, assuring that if later found to be true, the culprit will be penalized. Nzemeka ordered the Head Teacher of the school, Community Primary school, Uruagu Nnewi to rush to Awka during the Board meeting for her to explain more on this situation.
“ At any rate, we will investigate on the matter to make sure that the right things are done and she doesn’t collect salary again.” Nzemeka said.