The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, to work with appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly probe allegations of corruption in the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) between 2004 and 2020.
It said the probe should include the missing N3,836,685,213.13 documented in the 2017 Annual Report by the Auditor-General of the Federation.
SERAP, in an open letter dated February 20, 2021 and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said allegations of corruption in UBEC and SUBEB violate the right to education of millions 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, Niger State where dozens of schoolchildren and teachers were abducted by gunmen.
The organization urged the president to direct the anti-corruption agencies to make public the outcome of any investigation, and to prosecute suspected perpetrators if there is relevant admissible evidence, as well as fully recover any missing public funds.
It also urged Buhari to ensure prompt investigation into the spending of money budgeted for the Safe School Initiative since 2014, including the N3.2 billion from the federal government and private donors meant to ensure a safer school environment for children, and to clean up an apparently entrenched system of corruption in the education sector.
The letter read in part: ”Many years of unresolved allegations of corruption and mismanagement in UBEC and SUBEBs have resulted in decreasing quality of education for poor children, while many politicians send their own children to the best private schools in the country and abroad, and thereby leaving behind generations of poor children.
”We would be grateful if your government would indicate the measures being taken to address the allegations and 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, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to implement these recommendations in the public interest, and to promote transparency and accountability in UBEC and SUBEBs.”