Students insurance: Parents threaten showdown with FG

By Umar Bayo Abdulwahab

Parents of students in Federal Unity Schools (FUS) are threatening a showdown with principals of the colleges over alleged compulsory introduction of insurance scheme for all students.
According to them, the scheme which is being powered by NICON insurance company in collaboration with ministry of education is seen as a new way of exploiting parents and guardians.
The parents under the aegis of Concerned Parents, who stormed the Kwara state secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ilorin, alleged that some Federal Government College in Ilorin had commenced the implementation of the scheme by mandating all students to pay N5,000 premium, before resumption on January 4,2015.
Spokesperson for the group, who preferred anonymity, for fear that their children may be victimised in schools, alleged that they have the feelings that the management of the unity schools were conniving with some stakeholders to raise campaign funds ahead of 2015 general elections under the guise of insuring students.
According to them, NICON Insurance, the company engaged for the scheme is owned by a PDP chieftain and that the insurance scheme ought to be optional and not compulsory, even as they said that the premium of N5, 000 per a student was on the high side.
“The feelings of parents is that the PDP is trying to raise campaign funds through these students because NICON Insurance company is owned by Jimoh Ibrahim and he is a PDP financier, “they spokesperson said .
The concerned parents said the principal of Federal Government College, Ilorin, Mrs. Rita C. Okpaleke, based her justification for the collection of the levy on “a text message”, allegedly received from the Federal Ministry of Education directing principals of unity schools to collect the insurance premium.
They lamented that despite resistance from the National Association of Parents Teachers Association (NAPTA), the principal of Federal Government College, Ilorin insisted on going ahead with collection of the N5000 compulsory premium .
“They said that any student that does not pay the money will not be allowed to stay in school when the new session resume on January 4, 2015.
“The most disgusting thing is that in case of any eventuality, the sponsor of the beneficiary will be entitled to N500, 000.  Are they saying that is the worth of the life of our child?” the spoke person said.
They said that when their children and wards were served with circular and forms bearing” students welfare insurance scheme for unity schools powered by NICON Insurance, on Thursday December 18, 2015, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent ,they approached the principal of the college for explanation.
“When we met the principal, she said she was acting on a text message she received from ministry of education directing her to collect the money”.
They, however, threatened to institute a legal action if the levy was not reversed when the students resume next session.
When contacted on Sunday, the principal of Federal Government College Ilorin, Mrs. Okpaleke ,did not pick calls put through to her mobile lines by our correspondent.

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