A group, Centre for Social Justice, has said that the learning outcome of school children is poor in Nigeria, despite the provisions of the Universal Basic Education Act and Child Rights Act.
Speaking at a media chat on Tuesday in Abuja, the Executive director of the group, Eze Onyekpere, said there was no conducive environment for children to learn as the infrastructures in schools have decayed.
He said basic education was the fulcrum upon which other tiers of education revolve, noting that once the foundation was poor, the society could not build on it.
“For us to produce quality graduates, innovators and thinkers, we must get our basic education system right,” he said.
According to him, there could be no better time than now to secure the commitment of all levels of government to address education challenges through constitutional amendments.
“The approval and implementation of these provisions will remove shame from Nigeria and elevate our standard of living, productivity and contribution to the poor human civilization,” he said.
Mr. Onyekpere, said that in many Local Government Councils, LGC, elections were not held and the councils were run by caretaker committees appointed by the governor.
He added that where LGC elections were held, they have been abused and manipulated by State Independent Electoral Commission with the ruling party in each state declaring itself the winner of virtually all the seats.
“Whether it is a caretaker committee or a purported election, the will of the people have been subverted,” he said.
Mr. Onyekpere stated that State House of Assembly made laws limiting the tenure of LGCs and tenures range between 2-3 years, stating that in many instances, LGCs are dissolved before the end of their tenure.
“All these happen just to please the demi-gods and their minions that run administrations at the state level,” he said.
Mr. Onyekpere, said each of the 768 LGC and 6 area council has received not less than N30billion from the Federation Account.
“This is over N23.220trillion accruing to LGCs, but this bulk of money never got the LGCs, it was hijacked by state governments through the state Joint Local Government Account,” he said.
He said there was nothing to show for this huge fund collected by the state government on behalf of the LGCS.
He added that poverty was increasing at the local level and the people have been denied access to the basic necessities of life such as portable water, functional schools, and primary health care and so on.
“If N30billion or even half of it had been invested in every local government, poverty would have been a thing of the past in Nigeria or at least, significantly reduced,” he said.
He called on Nigerians to join the struggle for autonomous LGCs, such as signing petitions in support of the autonomy, join mass rallies in support of the autonomy, and send grant autonomy to LGC and to also engage members of house of Assembly in their various constituencies individually to endorse LGC autonomy.
Mr. Oyekepere, also made an appeal to the House of Assembly members to vote for LGC autonomy and be counted on the side of the people.
“We should also use the same strategies to ensure that the rights to basic education, primary and maternal health care are elevated to Chapter Four rights in the constitution,” he said.