The West African Examination Council has reopened its office in Calabar after it was destroyed by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSars protest on Oct. 24, 2020.
The hoodlums destroyed the office buildings, vandalised cars, furniture, and certificates among others.
Speaking on Monday in Calabar, the Head of the National Office of WAEC, Mr. Patrick Areghan, said that the examination body received the news of the destruction in Lagos with sadness.
According to Areghan, the destruction of the examination body is condemnable, coming at a period when the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the world economy and also disrupting the academic calendar.
He maintained that the complete renovation, rehabilitation, and equipping of the Calabar office was to give it a facelift with a view to continuing to render service to the people of the state.
He said that the concern of WAEC was the safety of its staff during the destruction, adding that the examination body places a premium on the welfare and safety of its staff.
“The hoodlums attacked the premises of WAEC on Oct. 24, 2020. They destroyed the building and furniture, vandalised vehicles, and carted away valuables.
“After the destruction, some government officials from the state government and other stakeholders visited the place and made some promises, but, we are yet to see the fulfillment of those promises made.
“As a body of examination, we exist to serve the Nigerian child and satisfy the interests of other stakeholders.
“The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the academic calendar; hence the 2021 May/June WAEC did not hold as usual. The 2021 WAEC examination has been scheduled to start on Aug. 16 in Nigeria,” he said.
He thanked members of the All Nigerian Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPPS) and other stakeholders for their support for the examination body in the state.
He urged the staff of the council to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are strictly adhered to during the conduct of the examination.
Branch Controller of WAEC in Cross River, Mr. Oladele Ezekiel, said that after the destruction on Oct. 24, Gov. Ben Ayade visited the office on Nov. 3.
He said that the governor while assuring the council of his support to get back to business, promised the office two Hilux pick-up vehicles and the renovation of the damaged buildings.
“The office followed up the promises rigorously but all to no avail.
“With great difficulty, the office relocated its operations to the Uyo zonal office for the safe custody of all security materials and the provision of our services to meet the needs of the Cross River residents and other clients.
“The journey to and from Uyo was not a pleasant one as it was stressful and risky while the road was in a serious state of despair with attendant effects on our operations.
“The management heard our groaning and sent us a coaster bus to alleviate our transportation problems.
“Furthermore, the management came and saw our pitiable state and the head of national office gave us hope that the office would be renovated before the next examination in 2021, here we are today,” he said.
He thanked the head of the national office and his management team for their profound interest and genuine concerns for the entire staff and the office at large.
In his goodwill message, the Secretary of ANCOPPS in Cross River, Mr. Dermot Tawo, condemned the destruction of the WAEC office.