All the major publishers engaged by the Federal Government to supply books to Nigerian children for the 2012/2013 session have been sanctioned to pay fines for default in delivery.
Announcing the position of the Federal Government on Monday during a meeting the publishers in Abuja, Minister of State for Education, Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike declared that the publisher failed to meet the six weeks time allotted in the contractual agreement between the publishers and the Federal Government.
The Minister declared that the sanction became necessary because the Federal Executive Council approved the contract on the premise that the contractors stated that they have the capacity to deliver within the specified time.
He regretted that the action of the publishers has impacted negatively on the programme of the Federal Government to flag off the books distribution on Friday November 30.
According to him: “We had to invoke the relevant clauses to apply sanctions on the publishers because the Federal Government and the ordinary Nigerians who are beneficiaries cannot be taken for granted.
“Our reason for patronizing indigenous publishers is to encourage employment. However, these publishers must be willing to meet up with the expectations of the Federal Government and the less privileged Nigerians”.
The Minister said in future, erring publishers will be blacklisted if the fail to deliver.
Director, Learn Africa Publishing Plc, Mr. Julius Abiodun in his response pleaded for leniency on the part of the government. The same plea came from the other publishers.
He said that the publishers faced challenges which included delay in clearing the books at the ports.
The minister rejected the pleas for clemency.
Wike also met with contractors handling the construction oof girl child schools, almajiri special education projects and libraries for Federal Unity Colleges.
He commended the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, for stepping up monitoring of projects that has yielded improved performance.