Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Monday approved immediate payment of the N450m that the previous administration had diverted from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) funds, clearing the way for immediate readmission of the state to a scheme that is meant to improve access to basic education.
The approval came a few days after UBEC officials narrated how the previous administration had diverted the N1.5bn 2013 funds allocated to Kwara and how that had led to the official blacklisting of the state from UBEC.
AbdulRazaq signed the documents approving the refund of the N450m during a meeting with the Permanent Secretary for the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Bayo Onimago and Permanent Secretary for the state Ministry of Finance, Benjamin Fatigun in Ilorin, the state capital.
The payment of the N450m was a precondition for readmitting Kwara back to the UBEC after a five-year ban under the Abdulfatai Ahmed’s administration.
Lamenting the ‘criminal neglect’ of the education sector and the decrepit state of infrastructure in a statement on Sunday, AbdulRazaq had said he would immediately pay the N450m in the interest of the children, restore Kwara’s relationship with UBEC and commit whatever fund accessed only for the purpose for which it was meant.
Rafiu Ajakaye, spokesman to the Governor, said one implication of this crucial step is that the state can now access UBEC funds worth over N5bn once it pays the counterpart funds.
“The situation before now was such that Kwara could no longer approach UBEC because the previous administration diverted the 2013 funds. That sullied the name of the state. Now, the governor has put that ugly chapter behind the people of Kwara State,” according to a statement issued on Monday.
Kwara currently ranks 37th or the lowest on the UBEC Matching Grant Disbursement Performance.