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Basic Education: State Govts failure to contribute to UBEC Fund was hampering education access – Falana

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Basic Education
Femi Falana, Human Right Lawyer


Nigerian human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana has said that the refusal of state governments to make counterpart contributions to the Universal Basic Education Fund in the country was hampering access to basic education in Nigeria.

Falana stated this during his presentation at the Out-of-School Children Summit organised by IA-Foundation in Lagos.

According to him, pursuant to Section 2 of the Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act (2004), it is important for the state governments to make counterpart contributions to the Universal Basic Education Fund, but this has continually been ignored.

He urged the National Assembly to drive an amendment of the constitution to empower the accountant-general of the federation to deduct the counterpart fund payable by every state government from the source.

“In June last year, the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Mr Hamid Bobboyi, bemoaned the refusal of state governments to provide counterpart funding and access the annual matching grants given by the commission to develop their basic education system.

The statement reads in part:

“The commission was particularly concerned that about N110 billion of the intervention funds accessed from UBEC were not utilised by the states in 2021, with the money left in the coffers of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs).

“Sometime in 2017, we learnt that the Federal Government had decided to refund state governments all monies so far deducted from their accounts to meet the London Paris Club obligations.

“We convinced the Federal Government to deduct the counterpart fund that the state governments had failed to contribute to the Universal Basic Education Fund.

“The Federal Government accepted the suggestion, and that was how the sum of N71.3 billion was deducted from the source and remitted to the account of UBEC.

“Thereafter, UBEC added the matching grant of N71.3 billion, and the states received a total of N142.6bn for the provision of needed facilities in public primary and junior secondary schools in the country.

“What the National Assembly should do is to address the refusal of state governments to make counterpart contributions to the Universal Basic Education Fund pursuant to Section 2 of the Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act.’’

The lawyer noted that since each of the 36 states of the federation had adopted the Child’s Rights Act and enacted a Child’s Right Law, it had become the joint responsibility of the federal, state and local governments to ensure that every Nigerian child was given an opportunity to acquire free and compulsory education.

He added that the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Act (2019) guaranteed free education up to senior secondary school level for every person with disability.

“In the same vain, all public schools, whether primary, secondary or tertiary, shall have at least one personnel trained to cater for the educational development of persons with disabilities or special facilities for the effective education of persons with disabilities.

“These laws have been observed in their breach because the members of the political class, drawn from all registered political parties have not demonstrated any commitment to the education of every child in Nigeria.

“The members of the legislative and executive organs of governments have failed to appreciate the danger of having 18.5 million out-of-school children, the highest in the world.

“Therefore, amending the Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act to make it more stringent for parents will not work in a poverty-stricken environment,” Falana stated.







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