N51bn UBEC funds: Pay counterpart funds or face legal action,

SocioEconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the 36 state governors to redirect public funds budgeted to pay ex-governors undeserved pensions and other retirement benefits, and for security votes to pay the counterpart funds that would allow poor children to enjoy access to quality basic education in their states.

 The group in a letter dated 19 February 2022 and signed by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare alleged that most states have reportedly failed to pay the counterpart funds to access over N51billion matching grants earmarked by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for basic education in the country since  July 2019. 

“The report by UBEC that several states have failed to access N51.6billion 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.”

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 “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 Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, and the country’s international human rights obligations.”  

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 In the letter, sent to each of the 36 governors, SERAP said it would  be grateful if the recommended measures were taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter.

“If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel your state to comply with our request in the public interest. 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.”

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