By Balkis Tijani.
In seeking remedy to the decrepit nature of schools in the northern senatorial district of Kwara State which parades a stunning number of schools with collapsed roofs, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, arrived the headquarters of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in Abuja, yesterday, to seek the commission’s assistance in salvaging the appalling situation.
Upon arrival, the governor was intimated that Kwara State had been blacklisted by the commission, on account of mismanagement of N1.5bn grant meant for the upgrade of schools by the previous government of Abdulfatah Ahmed in 2013.
UBEC officials further explained that, “the sum of N1.5bn was allotted to Kwara in 2013 with a request for the state to pay another N1.5bn as counterpart funding”, adding that, “the government was later discovered to have borrowed the N1.5bn from a bank with which it immediately accessed the UBEC fund.
“Upon receipt of the UBEC’s N1.5b, Kwara returned the N1.5b it had borrowed from the bank and then diverted the UBEC’s N1.5b without investing it in educational infrastructure as required by law”, they said.
UBEC blacklisted Kwara State afterwards, demanding refunds of its N1.5b.
According to further reports, Kwara had refunded N1.050b, leaving behind an outstanding debt of N450 million which the former governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed, ignored until he left office.
Governor Abdulrazaq, who was in company of SOBI FM Chairman, Luqman Mustapha, was denied access to more funding, as he was told, “UBEC will only do business with Kwara when the outstanding N450m is refunded to UBEC by Kwara.”
The governor, has however promised to offset the outstanding debt in order to access UBEC funding (which sums up to N5.6 billion available for the state) to enhance development of creaky schools across the state.