Ambassador Timothy Nwachukwu, Executive Director, Youth Advocates For Peace Justice and Empowerment Network -YAPJEN, A Global Goals, Good governance and Human Rights Advocacy Organisation has appealed to incoming State Governors across Nigeria to prioritise the attainment of the United Nations Global Goals 4 by accessing the Universal Basic Education, (UBEC) fund and investing in critical infrastructure that will aid learning in their various states.
Speaking to newsmen at the day one of the two days SDG University Summit organised and hosted by NILE University Abuja in partnership with Connected Development, Office of the Special Assistant to the President on SDG and The Nigeria Governors forum.
Amb. Nwachukwu reiterated that the United Nations Global Goal 4 focuses on education and aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities all, while Target 4 and it’s indicators is envisioned that by 2030, All girls and boys will have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education while efforts must be made to build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.
He expressed sadness that while some outgoing state governors are earmarking and approving bogus exit allowances to themselves with the connivance of thier State House of Assembly. yet, many schools in the rural areas which houses most of the poor and underprivileged children lack conducive learning classrooms, qualified teachers, potable water, sick bays, staff rooms, restrooms, among others while pupils learn in degrading and extremely harsh conditions.
The Director revealed that data obtained from the UBEC Executive Secretary shows that Ebonyi, Anambra, Niger, Ogun, Enugu, Imo, Edo and other states had refused to access the N41.06 billion matching grant provided by the commission for the development of public primary and junior secondary schools while only N143 billion out of the N184.8 billion set aside by the commission was accessed by states between 2017 and 2020.
Nwachukwu, bemoaned the statistics from the office of the United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF) which shows that over 13.2 million Nigerian children are out of school while the National Personnel Audit (NPA) report showed that up to 13 million Nigerian children lacked access to primary education due to gross infrastructure and personnel deficit in basic schools across the country.
In the same vien, Hon. Ndife Ikechukwu Scofield, A Global Goals Advocate stated that the failure to access intervention funds by governors have continued to endanger the future of millions of Nigerian children whereas Nigeria adopted the Child’s Rights Act in 2003, giving a nod to both the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which include access to free and compulsory basic education.
He appealed to incoming Governors of various States across Nigeria to prioritise access to quality education, pay thier counterparts fund to access the UBEC funds lying fallow, implement child rights acts to protect and dissuade children from hawking during school hours and sessions, and deter parents and guardians from encouraging such practices which infringes on the right of the child.