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SERAP threatens to sue Okowa over primary school budget


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

*Demands detail of spending on school

Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has threatened to sue the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, over primary education spending.

The threat was contained in a Freedom of Information (FoI) request signed by the deputy director of the Lagos-based rights group, Kolawole Oluwadare, to the governor dated April 5, 2019.

SERAP requests the governor to use his “good offices and leadership position to urgently provide information on the budgetary allocations and actual spending by your government to ensure access of Nigerian children to free and quality primary education in your state between 2015 and 2019.”

In the request obtained by The Guardian yesterday, the group gave the governor seven days to respond or face legal action.

According to SERAP, 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 N900 tuition and the poor infrastructure at Okotie-Eboh Primary School 1, Sapele.

The FOI request read in part: “SERAP notes that since assuming office, your government has received over N7.8 billion from Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). Your government accessed over N3 billion of UBEC funds between 2015 and 2016, while also reportedly approved the release of N1.28 billion counterpart fund to enable it access UBEC funds for 2017. Your government also received N213 billion from Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) in 2018, at an average of N17.8 billion monthly.

“We urge you to provide details of budgetary allocations and actual spending by your government between 2015 and 2019, including specific projects carried out to improve access to free and quality primary education in your state, the locations of such projects and the primary schools that have benefited from the projects.

“We also seek information on specific detail of the steps your government is taking to improve the overall welfare of children in primary schools across your state, and detail of your government’s fee-free programme, if any, across primary schools in the state and information on indirect costs, including uniforms, exercise books, and transport costs to students and their parents.

“If we do not hear from you within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, the registered trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel you to comply with our request.”

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