Civil society organization, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged anti-graft agency, the EFCC to commence investigation into alleged diversion of the N500 million Safe School fund budgeted for the rebuilding of the Government Girls School in Chibok, Borno State.
SERAP, in a petition dated December 27, 2016, is asking 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.
Recall that the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, had on Tuesday alleged 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.
The organization, in the petition signed by its senior staff attorney, Timothy Adewale, said, “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 urges the EFCC to work with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to set up a mechanism to monitor government’s spending of the safe school funds in order to ensure that the funds are spent exactly to prevent and deter future attacks, and to allow the girls to go back to school as soon as possible.
“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 step to the maximum of its available resources to achieve the right to education.
“The alleged diversion also shows a serious breach of anticorruption 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.
“The EFCC should ensure full accountability and bring to justice anyone found to be responsible for corruption and diversion of safe school funds. The EFCC should also ensure that all proceeds of corruption are recovered and returned back to the treasury,” SERAP stated.