The Federal Government has warned parents and guardians that henceforth anyone who denies his or child access to basic education will be sent to jail for breaching the right of the child to education.
This is coming on the heels of the revelation that over N350 billion has been spent by the Federal Government in the implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE) in the last four years.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who made this known on Monday at a news conference, said it was a criminal act for parents to refuse to enrol their school-aged children.
He said the current administration remains committed to end the menace of out-of-school children in the country, which has been estimated to about 12.5 million.
He also explained that the intervention fund was disbursed as matching grants to state governments through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to support them in building infrastructure, teacher development and special education fund among others.
While noting that basic education was the primary responsibility of states and local government councils in the country, Adamu said the Federal Government, over the years, found it necessary to intervene in the funding of basic education in view of its significance and the enormity of the challenges in the sub-sector.
He said: “Realising that an institutional framework was needed to articulate the funding of Basic education in the country, the Federal Government established the Universal Basic Education programme in 2004.
“Since then, successive administrations have strived hard to make their contributions to the orderly and coordinated development of Basic education in the country.
“In the six years preceding the Buhari Administration, that is, between 2009 and 2014, the Federal Government expended about N360,000,000 worth of intervention on Basic Education covering textbooks, teacher professional development, construction of classrooms and library resources among others.
“In the last four years of the Buhari Administration, Federal Government funding of Basic education has increased significantly, despite low earnings from oil,” he said.
The Minister noted that in 2015, matching and non-conditional grants disbursements to 15 states of the Federation and the FCT amounted to N68.4 billion, while in 2016, grants disbursements to 29 states and the FCT was about N77 billion.
He also disclosed that 2017 the Federal Government provided a total of N95 billion to 24 states and the FCT, and another N109B to 20 states and the FCT.
He said: “The disbursements over the four-year period totalling about N350 billion include, Matching Grants, Educational imbalance fund, Special Educational fund, Good Performance fund, Instructional Materials funds, Teacher Professional Development Fund, as well as UBEC Implementation and Monitoring funds across geopolitical zones as attached.
“During the 4-year period under review, the government of President Buhari provided a total grant of Three Hundred and Fifty billion naira (N350 billion) to fund Basic Education in the country,” he said.
The Minister said the renewal of our mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari, a couple of weeks ago through the general elections of 23rd February 2019 was a clear statement from the majority of Nigerians that this administration was on course in keeping its promises to the people including the fight against corruption.
He said: “I must say that corruption and lack of political will among other reasons have been responsible for most states’ inability to provide their counterpart fund to enable them to access the matching grant provided by the Federal Government.
“Having come to this painful conclusion, the federal government decided to deduct from source, part of the last tranche of the Paris Club refund from all the states that have not been able to access their monies from UBEC.
“If this attitude of deliberate refusal on the part of states to provide counterpart funding for basic education continues, then the federal government will have no choice than to sustain its strategy of deducting counterpart funding of states percentage from source.
“It is expected that in a short while, states will commence accessing their matching grants,” he said.