As Nigerians regret the poor implementation of basic education programmes in states, the Minister of State for Education, Barrister Ezenwo Nyeson Wike, has disclosed that about N41.3 billion of Universal Basic Education (UBE) funds were yet to be accessed by state governments.
The minister who was represented by the acting executive secretary of UBEC, Prof Charles Onocha stated this yesterday at the 9th quarterly meeting of UBE state chairmen with officials of National Universal Basic Education Commission in Minna.
He stated that it is worrisome that some state governments refuse to pay their counterpart fund to access the funds available even as the states always complain of paucity of funds.
According to him, “over N41.3 billion still remained unaccessed by states to date. This is particularly worrisome when we realise that a lot of improvement can be done in our existing schools or the establishment of new ones”.
Wike stated that it is the responsibility of the UBE chairmen to impress it upon their state governors to make their own counterpart funds available and access the N41.3 billion in the interest of educational development of the respective states and the overall development of the country.
The minister also called on the SUBEB chairmen to make sure that state governments pay special attention to the almajiri schools being built especially in some parts of the north as a way to improve child education from the foundation.
He stated that the federal government have already completed 51 out of the 89 almajiri schools that are under construction adding that the schools completed would soon be commissioned by the vice president, Arc Namadi Sambo.
While stating that the federal government would hand over the almajiri schools to the respective state governments, after completion, he added that “state governors and traditional rulers have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support the efforts of federal government and replicate the almajiri schools in their respective states”.
He explained further that, “the states are required to take over the running and maintenance of the schools and to employ qualified teaching and non-teaching staff. The governors are also to ensure that adequate feeding arrangement is put in place for the students of the almajiri schools”.
Also speaking the governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, represented by the state head of service, Abbas Bello disclosed that his government is paying tremendous attention to education and that girl child education remains a priority.