The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a Freedom of Information request to Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa of Delta State to urgently provide information on details of the budgetary allocations and actual spending on quality primary school education in his state between 2015 and 2019.
SERAP said: “The evidence of education deficit in the state is further buttressed by the case of Success Adegor, who was sent home because her parents could not pay the illegal school fee/levy of N900 and the insufficient and poor-quality education infrastructure of Okotie-Eboh Primary School 1, Sapele.”
The group also said: “If we have not heard from you within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel you to comply with our request.”
In the FOI request signed by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group said: “Full development of human personality is essential objective of education. A strong Delta State in the future requires a strong education system today.
“A poor education system will severely cripple Delta State’s future growth, development and sustainability, both socially and economically. Providing the information as requested would show your commitment to ensuring access to quality education as a public good.”
According to SERAP: “Despite the huge resources available to your government and the massive budgetary allocations to primary education in your State including from the UBEC funds, several of the around 1,124 primary schools across the State are in shambles, and with very poor teaching facilities, thereby jeopardizing the futures of tens of thousands of Nigerian children in the State.”
The FOI request read in part: “SERAP notes that since assuming office, your government has received over N7.8 billion from Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). Your government has also received funds from federal allocations to Delta State.
“Your government accessed over N3 billion of UBEC funds between 2015 and 2016, while also reportedly approved the release of N1.28 billion counterpart fund to enable it access UBEC funds for 2017. Your government also received N213 billion from Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) in 2018, at an average of N17.8 billion monthly.
“We urge you to provide details of budgetary allocations and actual spending by your government between 2015 and 2019, including specific projects carried out to improve access to free and quality primary education in your state, the locations of such projects and the primary schools that have benefited from the projects.
“We also seek information on specific details of the steps your government is taking to improve the overall welfare of children in primary schools across your state, and details of your government’s fee-free programme, if any, across primary schools in the state and information on indirect costs, including uniforms, exercise books, and transport costs to students and their parents.
“Your government should also provide details of specific projects by your government to improve access to education for children with disabilities.”