UBEC FRAUDS: Activists, Stakeholders Call for Investigations In Osun State

Education activists and Stakeholders have called for an immediate probe of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) funds allegedly misappropriated at Osun State secondary schools’ projects.

The call for probe follows an investigation by Pen Press, exposing that millions paid for the provision of teaching and learning materials at Amere Junior Secondary School, Amere in Ola-Oluwa LGA and Orimolade Grammar School, Ikirun in Ifelodun LGA, all in Osun state, are non-existent.

According to the report, UBEC had awarded contracts running into millions of naira for providing instructional materials, textbooks, furnishing and equipping technical drawing rooms and science laboratories to Z-index Limited, which were nowhere to be found in the schools.

The Commission has, however, kept mum since the allegations became public knowledge.

Participants called for the investigation of UBEC funds in Osun during the anti-corruption radio programme, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, produced by PRIMORG, on Wednesday, 21 February 2024, in Abuja.

Reacting to the development, National Mobilisation Officer, Education Rights Campaign, Michael Adaramoye, called for immediate enquiry of the unaccounted funds in Osun secondary schools while urging UBEC to come clean with Nigerians and let the public know their level of involvement.

Adaramoye stressed that the Osun State government should be worried about the failure of UBEC to account for funds it awarded to equip schools in the two LGAs while stressing that besides corruption, poor funding and lack of infrastructure were massively affecting the quality of education in Nigeria.

To stem the tide of diversion of funds and contract fraud in schools located in rural areas, Adaramoye called for the democratization of the management of education projects and funds meant to equip schools.

His words: “We are all affected. UBEC ought to relate to say, okay, there is an allegation hanging around our neck. They have to clarify to the public that there are a lot of questions for UBEC to answer.

“Stakeholders in the education sector and activist groups working around the sector, we must build a campaign around issues like this. Because I’m pretty sure it is not only happening in Osun state alone”.

Adaramoye added, “People should be carried along in the day-to-day running of schools. All stakeholders, teachers, and students should all be part of the monitoring.

“Because when we keep crying that we don’t have enough funds, even the little funds are mismanaged. In most cases, they are finding their way into the pockets of different administrators. The solution is to ensure that we have participatory learning in institutions.

“Our institutions are run in a way that makes sure that people at the top have full control in terms of decisions and even implementation,” the education activist stated.

On his part, the Head of Civil Society Action Coalition and Education for All (CSACEFA), Abdullahi Sale, decried the level of corruption in Nigeria’s educational system, describing it as a “major problem” while disclosing that UBEC has been informed about the unaccounted funds in Osun schools.

Sale noted that monitoring UBEC projects, especially in states, was an issue, adding that with corruption across the board, Nigeria is far from actualizing primary education.

“We have been engaging with UBEC to ensure accountability in public expenditure. Just recently, we concluded monitoring of projects across the country. But you see, there’s something about monitoring.

“I think the first point of call will be the Osun State Universal Basic Education Commission; they are responsible for every job within the state. They should provide all the documents relating to all the UBEC jobs in the state, and then you can take it from there,” Sale said.

Earlier, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Pen Press, Mazeed Mukhar Oyeleye lamented the silence of UBEC at both state and national level following the investigation.

He revealed that besides the non-existent teaching and learning materials at the Osun schools, there was also a diversion and conversion of an uncompleted secondary school structure into a private college of health in the state.

Oyeleye said students at Junior Secondary School, Amere, in Ola-Oluwa LGA and Orimolade Grammar School, Ikirun, in Ifelodun LGA, were seriously bearing the brunt of corruption and misappropriation of UBEC funds in the state.

“The students at these schools can barely identify the essential equipment that should be in the laboratory that is necessary towards their understanding, towards their comprehension. And it’s a threat because how can students at the basic level of education not have access to these crucial facilities that they need for their learning? The Commission has paid for these materials, but they did not supervise whether it was delivered.

“An effort to question or to check what is the progress of this project from both the contractor and likewise the Commission failed, ” Oyeleye lamented.

PRIMORG had also extended an invitation to the UBEC Headquarters in Abuja before the radio programme, but the Commission neither responded to the invitation nor sent a representative to clarify the allegations.

Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program PRIMORG uses to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.

The program has the support of the MacArthur Foundation.

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