=== (AGENDAWATCHDOG) === During one of its plenary sessions some weeks ago, the lower chamber of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives, through its Committee on Basic Education and Services, commenced the process of probing the manner over N2bn released for the Safe School Initiative alongside other donations from other countries and donor agencies have been spent, and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.”
The House also resolved to urge the Federal Government to collaborate with State Governments to “restore, revive and revalidate the Safe School Initiative and deploy special security personnel to schools in Nigeria”.
This came in the wake of renewed attacks on schools and mass abduction of students and staff across Nigeria by armed men who proceed to place huge price tags on their heads in the form of ransoms, and the conviction that these criminal activities could have been checked if the stillborn safe school initiative had been fully implemented.
It is worth stressing that despite the fact that an initial $20 million had been made available for the takeoff of the Safe School Initiative project in 2014, alongside the fact that as at 2018 a total of $1,720,2406 (N41 Billion) had been realized in the form of contributions from donor countries and funding organizations, nothing concrete seems to have been done to justify the huge sums so far released for this initiative as it relates to the safety of schools, students, teachers, and facilities.
However, the dire consequences of the failure to realize the goals of the SSI, through the execution of the projects around which it is premised, becomes all the more obvious when viewed in juxtaposition with the escalation of the security crisis in the country, with schools as targets, inadvertently exposing the unimaginable decadence and dilapidation of schools in Nigeria where some students learn under trees, use blocks as desks, with the roofs of most classrooms completely blown off, hostels in pitiable states, and most schools without perimeter fences, etc.
Agenda Watchdog stands with the House of Representatives in its commitment to probing the manner the monies released for the SSI has been spent. This has become all the more expedient considering the increasing spate of attacks on schools across the country with their concomitant negative multiplier effects on the country’s general system of education.
Apart from security considerations, the probe will also serve to ensure probity in the manner pubic funds released for projects are spent. The House Committee on Basic Education and Services’ assignment is of great significance for the future of the country’s educational sector and the manner future public projects are executed.
It must not end up as another talk shop. Nigerians are watching!