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SERAP urges states to redirect budget for ex-govs, security vote

By Silver Nwokoro
21 February 2022   |   4:03 am
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the 36 governors to immediately redirect public funds budgeted for security votes as well as ex-governors’ pensions and other retirement benefits.

[FILES]

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the 36 governors to immediately redirect public funds budgeted for security votes as well as ex-governors’ pensions and other retirement benefits.

Describing the retirement benefits as undeserved, SERAP also urged the states to use some of the savings to pay the counterpart funds to access over N51bn grants earmarked by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for basic education in the country.

In a letter dated February 19, 2022, the Deputy Director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare, quoted UBEC as saying that several of the 36 states failed to pay the counterpart funds as at July 2019.

The letter sent to each of the 36 governors stated: “The report by UBEC that several states have failed to access N51.6 billion of matching grants suggests that these states are doing very little for poor children. It also explains why the number of out-of-school children in the country has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million.”

According to SERAP, a violation of the right to education will occur when there is insufficient expenditure or misallocation of public resources, which results in the non-enjoyment of the right to quality education by poor children within the states.

“States’ dereliction in paying counterpart funds is antithetical to the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, and the country’s international human rights obligations.

“The enjoyment of the right to education for millions of poor children remains a distant goal. In several states, this goal is becoming increasingly remote”.

The persistent failure to pay counterpart funds has hugely contributed to denying poor Nigerian children access to quality basic education, opportunities and development,” it added.

The body, therefore, urged the governors to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of any grant from UBEC.

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