The legislators believe the N10billion for out-of-school children was mismanaged and resolved to investigate what went wrong
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate how the sum of N10 billion was disbursed to take out-of-school children off the streets under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
This decision was sequel to a motion on the “need to investigate funds disbursed for the alternative school programme, better education service delivery for all, at risk children programme and interventions programme for out-of-school children from 2016 to date” sponsored by Rep. Tijani Kayode (APC, Kwara)
Leading the debate on the motion, Rep. Kayode said the issue of out-of-school children in Nigeria remains a persistent challenge, despite efforts from the Nigerian government, international development partners, and non-governmental organizations to address it.
He also noted that in 2022, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) ranked Nigeria third among countries with the highest number of out-of-school children, recording almost 20 million Nigerian children caught up in the web.
According to him, “in October 2019, the Ministry of Education confirmed that the Federal Government committed the sum of N10bn for the removal of 10.2 million out-of-school children from the streets within five years to enroll two million children annually.
“Also on 31 January 2022, the Federal Government adopted the then presidential committee on alternate education report and renewed its commitment to provide educational opportunities for over 10 million out-of-school children through the Alternate School Programme under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. Over 200 billion naira was allocated for the initiative.”
The lawmaker further remarked that “the alternate school programme was an initiative of the Federal Government aimed at improving access to education for Nigerian children, eliminating or substantially reducing child begging, fostering tolerance, unity, and integration of all children with diverse backgrounds, and reviewing and approving all work and implementation plans that enhanced the effective delivery of providing alternative schooling in Nigeria.”
Accordimng to him, a similar intervention by the World Bank worth $750m was “accessed and utilised within the last four years through Better Education Service Delivery for All for the enrollment of out-of-school children in Nigeria,” adding that in 2021, the government introduced the at-risk children programme, requiring hundreds of billions of Naira in expenditure.
“Despite the Federal government’s efforts and the release of funds for the execution of the program, the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria continues to increase rapidly,” he lamented, saying: “the misuse of alternate school programme funds to reduce out-of-school children in Nigeria has negatively impacted these schemes, leaving many children unschooled.”
The motion was unanimously approved when the presiding officer, Speaker Tanjudeen Abbas put the question.
In a directive, the House mandated its committee on alternative education to investigate the disbursement of the funds, particularly the roles of the MDAs concerned played and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.