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SERAP sues Governor Okowa over sub-standard primary schools


[FILE PHOTO] Delta State Governor, H.E Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa

A human rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos, against Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State over poor and substandard primary schools in the state.

The plaintiff is asking the court to “compel Governor Okowa to explain the disparity between budgetary allocations to primary education and the reality that several of the around 1,124 primary schools across the state are in shambles, and with very poor teaching facilities.”

In its application, the plaintiff alleged that “tens of thousands of Nigerian children are being left behind in Delta State and their future put in jeopardy.”

Those children, it said, are being short-changed and they deserve to know how much exactly has the state government spent between 2015 and 2019 on their education.

Joined as co-defendants in the suit are the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and Delta State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

SERAP argued that the refusal of the governor, UBEC and SUBEB to respond to its Freedom of Information (FoI) requests could only be construed to mean denial of the information sought.

“We shouldn’t have to ask for the information on spending on primary schools in the state. The poor condition of primary schools across the state would seem to suggest that the government has abandoned poor children in Delta State,” it stated.

SERAP had in separate FoI requests to the governor, UBEC and SUBEB last month said: “The evidence of education deficit in the state is further buttressed by the case of Success Adegor, who was sent home because her parents could not pay the illegal school fee/levy of N900 and the insufficient and poor-quality education infrastructure of Okotie-Eboh Primary School 1, Sapele.”

The suit read in part: “We seek an order of the court granting leave to apply for judicial review and to seek an order of mandamus compelling Governor Okowa, UBEC and SUBEB to provide to SERAP details of disbursement and spending of UBEC funds disbursed to Delta State government.

“The governor, UBEC and SUBEB have nothing to lose if the information is released to SERAP and members of the public. It is in the interest of justice that the information be released. Unless the reliefs sought herein are granted, the governor, UBEC and SUBEB will continue to be in breach of the Freedom of Information Act, and other constitutional and statutory responsibilities.”

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.


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Ifeanyi Okowa.SERAPUBEC
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