SERAP Calls for Investigation into Missing $30 Million ‘Safe School Funds’

Civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has requested that President Muhammadu Buhari to “direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami, (SAN) to probe the allegations on the missing, mismanaged or diverted 30 million dollars Safe School Fund.

The call followed the killing of three abducted Greenfield University students, and the plan launched by the Federal Government last week to raise additional funds for safe schools.

SERAP urged the President to “direct Malami and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate why the Safe Schools Initiative, established to bolster security at schools in response to the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls has failed to stop frequent abductions of students, and to ensure the safety and security of Nigerian children in schools across the country.”

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SERAP also requested that the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown wait for the outcome of any investigation into the spending of the $30m initially budgeted for the Safe School Initiative programme before leading the international community and donors to push for more funds for the programme.

According to the letter SERAP will also consider asking Brown using his influence to insist on transparency and accountability in the spending of the $30m safe school fund before rushing to engage donors to commit to additional funding of the Safe School Initiative programme.”

The 36 state governors are also being asked to accept voluntary scrutiny by Nigerians and civil society regarding the spending of funds spearheaded and raised to improve safety and security in Nigerian schools.

Despite the $30m Safe School Fund meant to ensure safety and security in 500 schools, and provide a school environment free of fear, no school has been protected as illustrated by the recent spate of abductions and killings of students in several parts of the country.

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Allegations of corruption in the spending of the $30m safe school fund undermine the safety and security of Nigerian children in schools, and deny access of poor children to quality education in a safe environment because the money that the government should be spending to provide safe schools for Nigerian children is squandered or stolen.

The Nigerian government has a legal obligation to protect Nigerian children from all forms of violence and other human rights abuses including abductions, killings, and to prevent and combat corruption in the spending of funds budgeted to improve safety and security in schools.

Gordon Brown who was present at the meeting pledged to rally global support for the programme, and added that ‘donors are all ready and willing to help in the latest move to fund and re-energise the Safe Schools Fund initiative.

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