Kwara Governor Approves Repayment Of ’diverted’ N450mn UBEC Fund

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Kwara Governor Approves Repayment Of ’diverted’ N450mn UBEC Fund

Kwara Governor Approves Repayment Of ’diverted’ N450mn UBEC Fund

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has approved the immediate repayment of the N450 million that the previous administration had allegedly diverted from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) funds.

The repayment will clear the way for immediate readmission of Kwara to a scheme that is meant to improve access to basic education, a statement by his chief press secretary, Rafiu Ajakaiye, said on Monday.

The approval for the repayment came a few days after UBEC officials narrated to the governor how the previous administration diverted N1.5 billion UBEC fund allocated to Kwara in 2013, and how that had led to the official blacklisting of the state from UBEC.

According to the statement by Mr Ajakaiye, the governor signed the documents approving the refund of the N450 million during a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Bayo Onimago, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Benjamin Fatigun, in Ilorin, the state capital.

Mr AbdulRazaq said the payment of the N450 million was a precondition for readmitting Kwara into UBEC after a five-year ban under the Abdulfatai Ahmed administration.

“The situation before now was such that Kwara could no longer approach UBEC because the previous administration diverted the 2013 funds. That sullied the name of the state. Now, the governor has put that ugly chapter behind the people of Kwara State,” the press statement said.

It said the governor will immediately pay the N450 million in the interest of the children and restore Kwara’s relationship with UBEC.

The statement said the new administration in the state would commit whatever fund it accesses only to the purpose for which it is meant.

It said one implication of the step was that the state can now access UBEC funds worth over N5 billion once it pays the counterpart funds.

UBEC blacklisted Kwara government because the immediate past administration mismanaged N1. 5 billion grant meant to upgrade schools in the state in 2013.

Mr Ajakaye said UBEC officials told Mr AbdulRazaq that N1.5 billion was allotted to Kwara in 2013 with the requirement for the state to pay N1.5 billion as counterpart funding.

Background

Kwara accessed UBEC fund last in 2013.

In 2014, UBEC allocated N952.2 million to Kwara, 876.7 billion in 2015, in 2016 Kwara was to access N1.04 billion, N1.3 billion in 2017 and N1.5 billion in 2018. None of these were accessed.

Kwara currently ranks 37th or the lowest on the UBEC Matching Grant Disbursement Performance.

The UBEC fund is an annual grant by the federal government to help states upgrade their primary education facilities in order to provide a good education for children across the nation.
To access this fund, state governments are required to match the federal government’s grant. But many states have ignored this facility even as children study under very deplorable conditions, including having lessons under trees and dilapidated classrooms while the quality of teachers remains low.

A senior lawyer and human right activist, Femi Falana,  last year October called for proper monitoring and utilisation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund.

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