Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate investigation into the corruption allegation against the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) between 2004 and 2020.
Aside from the call for investigation into the agencies 16 years spendings, the organisation also asked Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to work with appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly probe the missing N3,836,685,213.13 documented in the 2017 Annual Report by the Auditor-General of the Federation.
SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, also urged the president to direct Malami and the anticorruption agencies to make public the outcome of any investigation, and to prosecute suspected perpetrators as well as fully recover any missing public funds.
Through an open letter dated 20 February 2021 and addressed to the president, Oluwadare maintained that allegations of corruption in UBEC and SUBEBs violate the right to education of millions of Nigerian children who continue to face unsuitable learning conditions.
He stated that the poor learning and boarding facilities at the Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State where dozens of schoolchildren, teachers and their relatives were abducted by gunmen were testament to the unsuitable learning conditions in the country.
According to him, investigating the allegations of corruption and mismanagement in UBEC and SUBEBs, 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.
“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 in public interest, and to promote transparency and accountability in UBEC and SUBEBs.
“Allegations of corruption in UBEC and SUBEBs undermine public confidence in the education sector, lead to the erosion of education quality and access, and if not urgently addressed will lead to an increase in out-of-school children, and exacerbate educational inequalities in the country,” the letter read in part.