Missing $20 Bn: Senate wants probe of Safe School Programme

Posted by News Express | 24 February 2021 | 414 times

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•Senate President, Ahmed Lawan


The Senate president, Ahmad Lawan has called for a probe into the $20 million fund for the Safe School Initiative in order to determine why the initiative was stalled and the level of implementation achieved so far.

He disclosed that former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown who championed the Safe School Initiative had during the president Goodluck Jonathan administration disclosed the existence of a $20m for the programme.

He therefore urged the Committee on Education (Basic/Secondary), and Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND to “find out the implementation that took place, what happened, why is it stalled. And the National Council on Education should actually be in position now – given our circumstances recently having abductions in our schools – to come up with some national policies and guidelines on securing our institutions.”

The committee is to also investigate all monies donated by foreign governments and agencies to the initiative.

This is as the Upper Chamber while urging the Federal Government to, in collaboration with the various state governments, restore, revive and revalidating the Safe School Initiative in Nigeria, also urged the Ministry of Education under the auspices of the National Council of Education to come out with a comprehensive and workable framework for Safe Schools in Nigeria.

These were part of resolutions reached during plenary on Tuesday after the Senate considered a motion on the “Urgent need for the Restoration and Revalidation of the Safe School Initiative in Nigeria.”

Leading the debate on the motion, the Sponsor, Senator Stephen Odey (PDP, Cross River North) noted that the” Safe School Initiative” was launched to promote security and safety of schools’ pupil’s, student, teachers, as well as facilities in 2014.

The lawmaker said the initiative “was formulated to design and Implement the best of global standards in the educational sector in Nigeria through the employment of qualified teachers, provision of library and laboratory equipment, conducive environment for teaching and learning, as well as provision of habitable classrooms and hostels.”

He argued that “the unfortunate increase in the insecurity crisis in the country, with the advanced target at schools in diverse locations, especially the regrettable kidnap of the Chibok and Dapchi School girls in Borno and Yobe States respectively, the Kankara School Boys in Katsina State and most recently, the kidnap of students of Government Science College, Kagara in Rafilga Local Government Area of Niger State, have exposed the unimaginable decadence and dilapidation in the schools in Nigeria, drawing inference from the footage; from the school environments.”

Senator Odey warned that “these ugly and condemnable activities of insurgency, kidnapping, wanton killing and other associated crimes will not abate, especially in consideration of the payment of “Ransom” for the release of victims and as reportedly hinted by the immediate past Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in the course of his continuation as ambassadorial nominee.”

Also concerned that these incidences of kidnapping school children/students or invasion of school premises across Nigeria have created negative publicity for Nigeria with the attendance loss of confidence by foreign investors in the Nigerian economic climate;

Further concerned that our Nation has lost a large number of men and women as well as military resources of our over-stretched military to these Kidnappers, Terrorists, Bandits and other criminal elements, including the recent plane crash which resulted in the death of our Air Force Officers who were on a mission to aid the release of the recently kidnapped Kankara School students and workers.”(Daily Independent)

Source: News Express

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