A former Deputy Director at the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, Francesca Edeghere says the commission never hesitated to withhold funds to any State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB found to be pilfering such funds or not using them appropriately.
Edeghere who was Deputy Director and the zonal coordinator of UBEC’s South South operations, further said corruption in education thrives because Civil Society Organisations as well as parents and other stakeholders are not insisting enough on transparency in how development funds are utilized.
She was speaking on Public Conscience On Radio, an anti-corruption programme produced by the Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development, PRIMORG and supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
Taken up on the possibility of corruption in UBEC itself, Edeghere said while she did not consider everyone in the commission as blameless, funds were released to SUBEBs in a manner that they didn’t need anyone’s influence to access such monies.
The radio discussion was prompted by an investigative report by Premium Times detailing the extent of squalor faced by some primary schools in Nasarawa State in the face of huge amounts of money released to states by UBEC to ensure a conducive learning environment for children.
The situation has worsened Nigeria’s out-of-school children worries dubbed the worst in the world.
Edeghere called on civil society to speak up against any tendencies to thwart the purposes of the education budget.
Another guest on the programme, Igho Akeregha who is the President of the Civil Liberties Organisation and Abuja Bureau Chief of the Guardian Newspapers, blamed the slide toward substandard conditions on government and wondered what sort of individuals society would produce in a situation where adequate care is not being taken to maintain standards.
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