A senior lawyer and human right activist, Femi Falana, has called for a proper monitoring and utilisation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund.
He stated this in a statement sent to Premium Times on Thursday titled: “Stakeholders Must Monitor Disbursement of N291 Billion Basic Education Fund.”
The UBE fund is an annual grant by the federal government to help states upgrade their primary education facilities in order to provide a good education for children across the nation.
To access this fund, state governments are required to match the federal government’s grant. But many states have ignored this facility even as children study under very deplorable conditions, including having lessons under trees and dilapidated classrooms while the quality of teachers remains low.
The minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on Tuesday in Kaduna said the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) would be disbursing N142.58 billion to support educational growth in the states.
In his statement, Mr Falana warned that the fund may be diverted by politicians desperately looking for money to buy votes during the forthcoming general election in the country.
He said the World Bank gave Nigeria a grant $611 million (N219 billion) for the UBE scheme.
“I have since confirmed that the federal government has deducted the sum of N71.2 billion from the Paris Club refund, being the outstanding UBEC counterpart fund owed by the 36 states and the federal capital territory as at August 2018,” he said.
Mr Falana had earlier berated the 36 states in Nigeria for failing to access N86.5 billion lying fallow in the UBE account in the Central Bank of Nigeria as at April 30.
According to the lawyer, since members of the political class are not committed to human capital development, “we are compelled to call on all concerned stakeholders in the country to monitor the disbursement and utilisation of the fund.”
Mr Falana, who is also the national president the Peoples’ Alternative Front, said they had resolved to collaborate with UBEC and the Adult Literacy Commission to end illiteracy rate of 60 million citizens in the country.
He said it is essential for the Inspector-General of Police to comply with the provisions of the Compulsory, Free, Universal Basic Education Act by directing state police commissioners to arrest and prosecute parents and guardians who refuse to allow their wards to acquire basic education, which is compulsory from primary to junior secondary school.
“Unless these measures are adopted without any further delay, the UBE fund will be diverted or wasted while the future of the 13.2 million out-of-school children will be doomed to the detriment of political stability and development of the country,” he warned.