The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate allegations that $30 million safe school fund was missing or diverted to bring to justice anyone suspected to be involved, as well as recover any missing money.
SERAP’s appeal came on the heels of 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.
In the letter dated April 24, 2021, and signed by its Deputy Director, Mr. Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said rather than pushing to raise more funds for the Safe School Initiative, the government should prioritise and ensure a thorough investigation into the spending of the $30million initially budgeted for the protection of schools, prevention of attacks, and continued education of students.
SERAP said it was also considering asking United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Mr. Gordon Brown to use his influence to insist on transparency and accountability in the spending of the $30million safe school fund before rushing to engage donors to commit to additional funding of the Safe School Initiative programme.
The letter read in part: ‘’Despite the $30million safe school fund meant to ensure safety and security in 500 schools, and to 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.
‘’Attacks on students, teachers and their families violate constitutional and international human rights law, and force many families to keep their children home. This aggravates existing disparities in access to education, further marginalising the poor.
‘’The government’s apparent failure to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of the $30million safe school fund is contrary to the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], and violates Nigeria’s obligations under international law and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.’ – Thisday.