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SERAP sues state governors over poor funding of education



Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued all the state governors in Nigeria over what it said was their non-challant attitude towards the education of poor children in the country.

The organization had earlier sued President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing industrial action embarked upon by Academic Staff Union of Universities to continue.

According to the organization, the APC-led adminstration had shown no interest in the education of poor children, a situation that had resulted in the closure of polytechnics and colleges of education in the country

In a tweet on its verified Twitter handle on Sunday, SERAP accused all the state governors of wastage by paying N40 million as pensions to all former governors.

It stressed that the extravagant step resulted in the shortage of funds currently undermining the smooth running of public education in the country.

The tweet read: “We’ve sued Nigeria’s 36 state governors over their failure to fund education for poor children, while paying over N40 billion to former governors in pensions and provision of houses, staff and motor vehicles replaceable between three and four years.”

In the suit number FHC/L/CS/1120/2022 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP is seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel the 36 state governors to pay the counterpart funds that would allow poor Nigerian children to enjoy access to quality basic education in their respective states.”

Read also: Strike: SERAP tells Buhari to redirect presidency, NASS, others’ budget to meet ASUU’s demands

SERAP is also seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel the 36 state governors to put in place mechanisms for transparency and accountability in the spending of any accessed matching grants from UBEC.

“State governors are paying former governors in their states billions of naira in life pensions and other retirement benefits while failing to invest in education and pay funds that would allow poor Nigerian children within their states to enjoy access to quality education.”

According to SERAP, “Paying the counterpart funds for basic education in several states would be a major step forward for children’s rights, and ensure the rights and well-being of all children, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds.”

SERAP is arguing that, “The report by UBEC that several states have failed to access N51.6bn of matching grants suggests that these states are doing very little for poor children. It also explains why the number of out-of-school children in the country has continued to rise. The number is currently over 13 million.

“States’ dereliction in paying counterpart funds is antithetical to the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, and the country’s international human rights obligations.”

SERAP is also arguing that, “The persistent failure to pay counterpart funds has hugely contributed to denying poor Nigerian children access to quality basic education, opportunities and development.”

Joined in the suit as Respondents are the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

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