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Reps probe Jonathan’s N2bn Safe School Initiative

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Nina Nelly, Abuja |

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the alleged abandonment of the Safe School Initiative of the Federal Government initiated by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.

The probe is coming in the wake of attacks on schools and mass abduction of students and workers across Nigeria.

At the plenary on Thursday, the House resolved to urge the Federal Government to collaborate with state governments to “restore, revive and revalidate the Safe School Initiative and deploy special security personnel to schools in Nigeria.”

The House also mandated its Committee on Basic Education and Services to “carry out an investigation of the use of over N2bn released for the Safe School Initiative alongside other donations from other countries and organisations, and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.”

The Jonathan administration had launched the Safe School Initiative after insurgents attacked the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok.

The House, on Thursday, unanimously adopted the motion moved by Mr Aniekan Umanah, titled ‘Need to Investigate the Failure of N2bn Safe School Initiative Intervention Programme’.

Umanah recalled that the SSI was launched in 2014 to promote security, the safety of schools, pupils, students and teachers, as well as facilities.

He said the programme was to design and implement the best global standards through the employment of qualified teachers, provision of library and laboratory equipment, conducive teaching and learning environment, as well as provision of habitable classrooms and hostels in Nigeria’s education sector.

He said, “The House is disturbed that the unfortunate increase in security crisis in the country, with schools as targets, as witnessed recently, has exposed the unimaginable decadence and dilapidation of schools in Nigeria where some students learn under trees, use blocks as desks, the roofs of most classrooms are completely blown off, hostels in pitiable states and most schools are without perimeter fences, etc.

“The House is also disturbed that although an initial $20m was donated for the take-off of the Safe School Initiative project in 2014 and as of 2018, a total of $1,720,246 or N41bn had been realised as donations from countries and donor agencies, yet not much is on the ground to indicate seriousness to fully implement the laudable objectives of the initiative as it relates to the safety of schools, students, teachers and facilities.”

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