The Senate has mandated the Committees on Education (Basic and Secondary); and Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND to investigate the utilization of over $20 million (USD) funding proposed and budgeted for the initiative over the years.
The investigation would also cover all monies donated by foreign governments and agencies to the initiative.
This formed part of resolutions reached during plenary on Tuesday after the Senate considered a motion on the “Urgent need for the Restoration and Revalidation of the Safe School Initiative in Nigeria.”
Sponsor of the motion, Senator Stephen Adi Odey (PDP, Cross River North) noted that the ”Safe School Initiative” was launched to promote security and safety of schools pupil’s, student, teachen, as well as facilities in 2014.
According to the lawmaker, the initiative “was formulated to design and Implement the best of global standards in the educational sector in Nigeria through the employment of qualified teachers, provision of library and laboratory equipment, conducive environment for teaching and learning, as well as provision of habitable classrooms and hostels.”
He expressed concern that, “the unfortunate increase in the insecurity crisis in the country, with the advanced target at schools in diverse locations, especially the regrettable kidnap of the Chibok and Dapchi School girls in Borno and Yobe States respectively, the Kankara School Boys in Katsina State and most recently, the kidnap of students of Government Science College, Kagara in Rafilga Local Government Area of Niger State, have exposed the unimaginable decadence and dilapidation in the schools in Nigeria, drawing inference from the footage; from the school environments.”
He warned that “these ugly and condemnable activities of insurgency, kidnapping, wanton killing and other associated crimes will not abate, especially in consideration of the payment of “Ransom” for the release of victims and as reportedly hinted by the immediate past Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in the course of his continuation as ambassadorial nominee.”
“Also concerned that these incidences of kidnapping school children/students or invasion of school premises across Nigeria have created negative publicity for Nigeria with the attendance loss of confidence by foreign investors in the Nigerian economic climate;
“Further concerned that our Nation has lost a large number of men and women as well as military resources of our over-stretched military to these Kidnappers, Terrorists, Bandits and other criminal elements, including the recent plane crash which resulted in the death of our Air Force Officers who were on an a mission to aid the release of the recently kidnapped Kankara School students and workers;
“Worried that these incidents may instill fear in parents and guardians and force them to withdraw their children and wards from schools or prevent them from sending their children to schools which will in tum defeat the government’s educational policy of ”literacy for all” and further deprive our children of the opportunity of having quality education to compete with their peers globally;
“Convinced that the latest twist in the criminal activities associated with insecurity in Nigeria especially as it relates to the invasion of school premises as well as kidnap of students and teachers for ransom can be contained and defeated through the full implementation of the ”Safe School Initiative” by all stakeholders; and
“Also convinced that the full implementation of the Safe School Initiative will ensure the best of global standards in the educational sector in Nigeria through the employment of qualified teachers, provision of library and laboratory, I conducive environment for teaching and learning, as well as provision of habitable classrooms and hostels,” Odey said.
Contributing, the Senate Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North) said the recent kidnappings of school children by bandits has resulted in students from a part of the country missing out on education.