Probe Chibok school fund, SERAP tells EFCC

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (left) during his meeting with the 21 freed Chibok girls in Abuja … on Thursday. Photo: Olatunji Obasa

Ramon Oladimeji

A human rights organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the alleged diversion of the N500m Safe School fund budgeted for the rebuilding of the Government Girls School in Chibok, Borno State.

The Governor of Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, had on Tuesday blown the whistle that the fund inaugurated by a former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, following the abduction of over 200 female students by Boko Haram insurgents from the school in 2014, had been diverted.

In a statement on Wednesday by its senior staff attorney, Timothy Adewale, SERAP urged the EFCC to invite and question all those involved in the alleged diversion of the school fund with a view to naming and shaming them.

It argued that the alleged diversion of the school fund was not only a breach of Nigeria’s commitment to global Safe School Declaration but also a revelation of the failure of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

It said the alleged diversion also violated the right of Chibok girls to education.

The statement read partly, “The allegation that N500m has been lost to corruption has resulted in denying the girls access to education, and shows the failure of the former President Goodluck Jonathan government to live up to Nigeria’s commitments under the global Safe School Declaration.

“SERAP believes that the diversion of the funds will expose the school to attacks in the future. This is a fundamental breach of the country’s obligations including guarantees of non-repetition, which contribute to prevention and deterrence of future attacks.

“SERAP is seriously concerned that the school has remained in a state of disrepair since the abduction of the girls, and students have remained at home.

“SERAP is concerned that the alleged diversion of N500m meant for reconstruction of Government Girls School in Chibok has directly violated the right to education of the girls, as guaranteed under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.

“The diversion has undermined the obligation of the government to take steps to the maximum of its available resources to achieve the right to education.

“The alleged diversion also shows a serious breach of anti-corruption legislation including the EFCC Act, and Nigeria’s international obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption both of which the country has ratified.”‎

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