By NBF News

Contrary to the belief in certain quarters, the Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of National Examinations Council NECO), Professor Promise Okpalla, on Tuesday revealed that the West African Examination Council (WAEC) certificate is not superior to the ones issued by the council.

Okpalla disclosed this when he led the management team of NECO from Minna, Niger State to the Corporate Head Office of The Sun Publishing Limited, Lagos,yesterday. The NECO boss was received by the Managing Director, Mr. Tony Onyima and other management staffers.

Debunking the notion that WAEC certificates are superior to the ones issued by NECO, Okpalla said even within West Africa, the council's certificates are not. He disclosed that NECO has plans to introduce forge-proof certificates.

'They are equivalent exams. It's just that the candidates have increased opportunities. Naturally, somebody who had written the two examinations that can serve the same purpose, stands a better chance,' he stressed.

He said certificate forgery was not peculiar to NECO, adding that the situation was becoming embarrassing to the education system. He reasoned that new certificates that bear carry some security features would soon be introduced which would make it difficult for anybody or group to forge.

The NECO boss stressed that certificate forgery was not restricted to politicians but that many persons are working with forged certificates pointing out that when the new one by the council is introduced, it would be difficult to forge them.

On the discrimination against NECO certificates, Okpalla said the practice does not exist because the body was established by the Federal Government. The universities/polytechnics and Colleges of Education are under the Federal Ministry of Education, so it would be unheard of for government to establish an examination body which certificates schools would not accept.

His words: 'It is unheard of that a legitimate government of the day establishes an examination board and a school refuse to accept the results. To the best of my knowledge, in the past five years, there had not been any institution that refuses to accept students with NECO results.'

Okpalla also revealed that the management of NECO had adopted two approaches to tackle examination fraud. He mentioned the use of men of the civil defense corps and the engagement of university/polytechnic/colleges of education lecturers to supervisor some schools.

Meanwhile, NECO Registrar described The Sun Publishing Ltd as partners in progress in the education sector and hoped the two organizations could join hands to uplift the Nigerian child noting, 'we have come to really appreciate this organization in trying to re-define the future of the Nigerian child which is our core value in NECO. You education pages is one that has caught our attention with the kinds of stories it carries regarding the sector'.

Receiving the NECO management team in his office, the Managing Director of Sun Publishing Ltd, Mr. Onyima, told the delegations that the paper is the highest circulating newspapers in the country and now prints in three locations, Lagos, Abuja and Aba thus reaches out to more readers.

Onyima welcomed the invitation from NECO to partner with it and stressed that if the literacy level in the country increases, The Sun Newspapers would benefit from it. and accepted to the challenge from Professor Okpalla to help champion the cause of exam fraud.

Among the NECO management team include , Director, Examinations, Alhaji Abubakar Gana, Special Assistant to the Registrar, Dr. Ikechukwu Anyanwu, Zonal Officer, Lagos, Mr. Lasisi Abimbola, Head, Information Division, Mr. Benedict Uzor and Consultant to NECO, Dr. Chris Ogbogbo.