THREE journalists from national newspapers, Aniefiok Macauley of Daily Independent, Aniefiok Udonquak of BusinessDay and Patrick Odey of Daily Trust were Wednesday detained by the police for investigating the alleged rot said to be taking place at the Federal Science and Technical College, Aka Offot in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
Principal of the school, Mrs. T. A. Nweke, who arrived her office at about 11 am, invited the journalists to her office and later phoned the police, alleging that she was being harassed by the newsmen.
The three journalists had gone to seek response from Nweke on the alleged rot in the school and falling academic standard.
While the journalists drew the attention of the principal to the 2011 West African Examinations Council (WAEC) results of the school in which 39 out of 135 students passed at credit level in Biology and five out of 135 in Chemistry, thereby prompting mass withdrawal of students from the school, some people who claimed to be policemen in mufti with horsewhips from the ‘C’ Division of the State Police Command, stormed to the office to arrest the newsmen.
Leader of the team, who identified himself as Mr. Emmanuel and claimed to be the DCO, ordered that the journalists be taken to the police station for questioning for daring to interview the principal.
One of the journalists, who attempted to leave the principal’s office, was pushed back and forcefully detained in the principal’s office for hours.
Hours later, leader of the team claimed that he had received instructions from his boss to allow the journalists leave the school premises, saying the reporters did not have the right to interview the woman.
The reporters had gone to the institution for investigation following allegations by parents and stakeholders over the poor academic performance of the school and alleged imposition of illegal levies.
According to the immediate past Chairman of the Parents-Teachers’ Association (PTA) of the school, Mr. Ime Idinyang, the 2011 WAEC results were unsatisfactory by Federal Unity Schools’ standards.
He said only 26 out of 139 students had credit pass in English language while 18 out of 124 had credit pass in Mathematics in the 2011 examinations.
The Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, when contacted on phone over the development at the college, said he was not aware of the situation but would direct the permanent secretary to investigate the allegations.
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