The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) to probe allegations on missing, mismanaged 30 million dollars Safe School Fund.
It explained that the challenges being faced by the education necessitated the call, adding that with the administration’s anti-corruption stance, it was important for the government to ensure the missing funds be tracked and those involved in the disappearance of the fund be brought to justice.
SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, urged the government to direct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate why the Safe Schools Initiative has failed as against the motive it was set up for.
Through a statement on Sunday, Oluwadare said that it was saddening that the fund established to bolster security at schools in response to abduction of Chibok schoolgirls has failed to stop frequent abductions of students and to ensure the safety and security of Nigerian children in schools across the country
The group also asked the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, to wait for outcome of any investigation into the spending of the $30m initially budgeted for the Safe School Initiative programme before leading the international community and donors to push for more funds for the programme.
“Rather than pushing to raise more funds for the Safe School Initiative programme, your government should prioritise and ensure a thorough, transparent, and effective investigation into the spending of the $30m initially budgeted for the protection of schools, prevention of attacks, and continued education of students.
“SERAP will also consider asking Mr Brown to use his influence to insist on transparency and accountability in the spending of the $30m safe school fund before rushing to engage donors to commit to additional funding of the Safe School Initiative programme,” the statement said.
Oluwadare also asked the 36 state governors to accept voluntary scrutiny by Nigerians and civil society regarding the spending of any funds spearheaded and raised to improve safety and security in Nigerian schools
“Despite the $30m safe school fund meant to ensure safety and security in 500 schools, and to provide a school environment free of fear, no school has been protected, as illustrated by the recent spate of abductions and killings of students in several parts of the country.
“Allegations of corruption in the spending of the $30m safe school fund undermine the safety and security of Nigerian children in schools and deny access of poor children to quality education in a safe environment because the money that the government should be spending to provide safe schools for Nigerian children is squandered or stolen.
“The Nigerian government has a legal obligation to protect Nigerian children from all forms of violence and other human rights abuses including abductions, killings, and to prevent and combat corruption in the spending of funds budgeted to improve safety and security in schools,” the statement said.