EDO YOUTH GROUP DRAGGED GOVERNOR OBASEKI TO EFCC OVER ALLEGED DIVERSION OF EDUCATIONAL FUND

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EDO YOUTH GROUP DRAGGED GOVERNOR OBASEKI TO EFCC OVER ALLEGED DIVERSION OF EDUCATIONAL FUND

Post by Supreme International Magazine

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been asked to probe the PDP led government of Godwin Obaseki in Edo state over what it teemed as diversion of public fund in the state.

The call was contained in a petition recently submitted to the anti graft agency by The Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative, an Edo state based youth organization.

In the petition which was signed by Dannesi Mommoh Prince, the National Coordinator of group and Igwe Ude-Umanta, Director, Research, Documentation and Programmes. Obaseki, his education commissioner and host others was alleged to have diverted money meant for educational development in the state for their private use.

Below is the full text of the petition:

October 30, 2023
The Chairman
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
Plot 301/302, Institution and Research Cadastral District
Jabi, Abuja

Sir,

PETITION AGAINST MR. GODWIN OBASEKI (GOVERNOR OF EDO STATE), MRS JOAN OVIAWE (COMMISSIONER FOR EDUCATION, EDO STATE) AND MRS OZAVIZE SALAM (CHAIRPERSON, EDO STATE UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION BOARD) FOR DIVERSION OF $75M WORLD BANK LOAN AND ANOTHER N129.12B APPROVED FOR THE UPLIFT OF EDUCATION IN EDO STATE

We write with reference to the subject matter above.

2. Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative (EUYI) is a group dedicated to advocacy for the improvement of the life of unemployed youths in Nigeria, as well as fighting the conditions that create social contradictions which create lack of empowerment, unemployment and unemployability in young people. The State of public education in Edo State, in spite of billions of Naira budgeted in the seven (7) years, is therefore a social menace in waiting.

3. On October 23, 2023, a disheartening and tearful video of public primary and secondary schools in Edo State where students learn or unlearn and write their tests and examinations sitting on concrete bare floors hit the internet, attracting a global opprobrium. It is the story of a totally failed public education system in the entire State. This led to reconfirmation, assessment and further investigation of the state of affairs by our team. Our findings compels this petition which is a matter of patriotism, service to humanity and fear of God.

4. The Edo State Government under, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, obtained a $75 Million Dollars loan from the World Bank to uplift Education under the pilot scheme of Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST). Also, a breakdown of the Education Budget in Edo State since 2016 shows that a total budget of N129. 12 billion has been spent without any verifiable infrastructure in the schools to justify this huge amount. For the avoidance of doubt, the following is a breakdown of the budget performance:

2016 – N10.06 billion
2017 – N4.75 billion
2018 – N5.70 billion
2019 – N5.28 billion
2020 – N17.04 billion
2021 – N21.03 billion
2022 – N31.04 billion
2023 – 33.02 billion.
5. In Edo State Universal Basic Education Board in particular, the approved Capital Budget is as follows:
2018 – N4.67 billion
2019 – N4.62 billion
2020 – N8.03 billion
2021 – N6.42 billion
2022 – N6.27 billion
2023 – N7.23 billion.

6. The simple question we want this commission to ask these officers involved (we understand that Mr. Obaseki still enjoys immunity) is where are these monies since there are no verifiable projects on ground. Experts suggest that less than N10 million or about N15 million in the Nigeria’s usually inflated contract sums can renovate and furnish 1 Block of 6 Classrooms with staff office and toilets. This means that the State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) alone could have done 2,482 blocks of 6 classrooms with its N37.24 billion Capital Expenditure Estimates between 2018 to 2023 if the above budget of SUBEB was not diverted or stolen.

7. We appeal to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under your able leadership to carry out a thorough investigation on where the education expenditures of Edo State were channeled to under the Godwin Obaseki Administration. One thing we are certain about is that this investigation will prove that these monies were either diverted to private pockets or other phantom programmes other than what they were meant for. And it is our fervent prayer and hope that this will be investigated and the culprits prosecuted appropriately.

8. There are allegations that over N5 billion has been frittered away on what the State Government called Education Consultancy. One of such consultancies is the hiring of one Mrs. Chinelo Adaobi to conduct the Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination. It failed woefully. Parents had to provide materials, tables and chairs for their wards to write the examination. It was a scandalous failure. And these are the kind of guises Edo State Education System funds are squandered on.

9. The Commission must also note that once public officers start to lie willfully on the state of affairs, there is an attempt to cover up corruption. In April 2021, Mrs. Joan Oviawe who was then SUBEB Chairperson deceived the public that she had spent over N6 billion renovating and equipping public schools in Edo State. In fact, she said that over 400 Blocks of Classrooms were done and that only 186 Primary schools were yet to be linked to the EdoBEST. She further told the public that they have hired 11,000 teachers and were targeting another 3000 graduates. This cannot be true as the list of schools in just Edo Central and North without any presence of Government and teachers are more than 186. That is, even if no other Block of Classrooms had been added since April 2021, even now, that statement shows that monies have been diverted and the public is being deceived.

10. As you go on with your investigation, let it be reiterated that the EdoBEST in itself appear to be a deliberate organized fraud. Most public schools in Edo State that have some semblance of life are the ones sustained by community efforts and Old School Associations. Most schools in Edo do not have up to five (5) staff in Government Payroll. Some classrooms are used for defecation and smoking by touts and hoodlums. That is the true state of affairs in a State that have spent over N37 billion on capital expenditure on Basic Education alone.

11. We urge you to ensure justice for those kids who are subjected to dehumanization in the course of acquiring education by a system that that lies that all is well after diversion of development funds. It is also justice for the society who will suffer the outcome of children who were unlearned in the name of learning.

While looking forward to your speedy action, please accept the assurances of our greatest esteem.

Sincerely yours,
Danesi Momoh Prince
National Coordinator

Igwe Ude-Umanta
Director, Research, Documentation and Programmes.

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