The Federal Government on Tuesday expressed worry over the inability of the 36 states to access the Equity Fund of N41.3 billion under the Universal Basic Education programme.
The Minister of state for Education, Barrister Ezenwo Nyeson Wike, stated this in a message to the 9th quarterly meeting of Chairmen of State Universal Basic Education Boards held in Minna, Niger State.
Wike said: “Over N41.3 billion still cannot be accessed by tates up to date and this is particularly worrisome when we realise that a lot of improvement can be done in our existing schools or the establishment of new ones across the country.
“All states chairmen must draw the attention of their respective state governors to this development and to impress them on the need to take necessary actions in the interest of education in their states.”
The Minister, who was represented by the Acting Executive Secretary, UBEC, Prof. Charles Onocha, said “fifty-one out of the 89 Almagiri schools being built by the Federal Government have been completed and arrangements are in progress for the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, to commission the completed schools.”
He added that the Almagiri schools will be handed over to states government.
He said: “State governors and traditional rulers have signed Memorandum of Understanding to support the efforts of Federal Government so as to replicate the Almagiri schools in their respective states.
“States are required to take over the running and maintenance of the schools and to employ qualified teaching and non-teaching staff.
“The governors are also to ensure that adequate feeding arrangement is put in place for the students of the Almagiri schools.”
Wike however called on SUBEB to ensure that state governments pay special attention to the Almagiri schools in the interest of child education in the country.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Niger State Universal Basic Education Board, Ibrahim Uba Hassan, said the state had judiciously used funds that accrued to it from the programme.
Hassan said the welfare of teachers had been given topmost priority by the administration, adding that the state government spends close to N1 billion on the monthly salaries of teachers in implementing the N18,000 minimum wage.