Richard Ginika Izuora
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), at the weekend implored President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate a criminal probe of alleged billions of naira missing from the Universal Basic Education Commission and also the State Universal Basic Education Board.
Also, the SERAP demanded a probe into the N3.8 billion revealed by the Auditor-General in his 2017 report; and the N3.2 billion for Safe School Initiative
SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, in the letter to the President appealed that the funds be recovered and prosecute the perpetrators; stressing that it will take legal action if the regime fails to act on the issue.
The letter read, “Allegations of corruption in UBEC and SUBEBs violate the right to education of Nigerian children who continue to face unsuitable learning conditions; as shown by the poor learning and boarding facilities at the Government Science College, Kagara.
“Investigating the allegations prosecuting suspected perpetrators; and recovering any missing public funds would contribute to addressing the education crisis in the country; which has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable and marginalized, and entrenched inequality.
“SERAP is concerned about allegations of widespread and systemic corruption; misappropriation and mismanagement within UBEC and several SUBEBs; the failure to investigate these allegations; and to recover any missing public funds.
“The Federal Government bears responsibility for ensuring that every Nigerian child has access to quality education; in a conducive learning environment and to also safeguard education as a public good.
“Your government’s responsibility to guarantee and ensure the right to quality education for every Nigerian child is interlinked with the responsibility under Section 15(5) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 [as amended] to ‘abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of office.’ This imposes a fundamental obligation to investigate the missing public funds from UBEC and SUBEBs, to prosecute suspected perpetrators, recover the money, and also remove opportunities for corruption in these institutions.
“We would be grateful if your government would indicate the measures being taken to address the allegations as well as to implement the proposed recommendations within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter.
“If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps being taken in this direction, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to implement these recommendations in the public interest, and also to promote accountability in UBEC and SUBEBs.”