President Muhammadu Buhari has decried corruption and strikes in the education sector saying they undermine the government’s investment in the sector.
The President also accused those who go on strike for ‘flimsy reasons’ of being complicit in the corruption.
“Incessant strikes especially by unions in the tertiary education often imply that government is grossly underfunding education,” the President said this at the 4th National summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector.
“But I must say that corruption in the education system from basic level to the tertiary level has been undermining our investment in the sector and those who go on prolonged strikes on flimsy reasons are no less complicit.”
The annual conference, organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), seeks to review government’s efforts in the fight against corruption in the public sector.
The summit also recognises and reward public servants who have exhibited exceptional acts of integrity.
President Buhari who gave his last address as President at the summit, stressed that the 1999 Constitution placed a premium on education by placing it on the Concurrent List, which confers on both the Federal and State Governments the responsibility of budgeting and underwriting qualitative education in the country.
He said the aggregate education budget in all the 36 states of the Federation, the Federal Government as well as the combined internally generated revenues of the educational institutions themselves should also be scrutinized by critics of government funding of the nations. education sector.
A prolonged strike by lecturers has reignited the debate about the funding of education.
Talking about funding, the President said the government alone cannot bear the cost of education, owing to declining resources. He tasked the nation’s academics to attract endowments, research and other grants to universities, polytechnics and colleges of education similar to what obtains in other countries.
He called on stakeholders to demand accountability in the administration of academic institutions and also that unions interrogate the bloated personnel and recurrent expenditure of their institutions.
Similarly, he called on the media to advocate for transparency in the amount generated as Internally Generated Revenue by educational institutions and how such funds are expended.
This year’s edition of the summit, which had the theme ‘Corruption and the Education sector’ is aimed at highlighting corruption issues bedevilling the Education Sector and efforts to tackle the menace by ICPC.
The ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, noted that the commission remained resolute on its mandate.
According to him, the commission has constituted a special team to address sexual harassment across schools as well as strengthened its anti-corruption mandate in the MDAs.
The minister of Education, Adamu Adamu said the President has done his best for the sector, and appealed to ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to deepen investigative efforts.
He urged the next President to manifestly attack systemIc corruption. Systemic corruption, he stressed, must be fought if Nigeria is be liberated.
He identifies ways to tackle this which includes: Strengthening existing measures to punish all acts of corruption, strengthen guidelines to ensure compliance with global best practices, install tracking systems, public financial reform techniques to encourage transparency etc.
The Education minister warned that Nigeria would loose everything if systemic corruption is not squarely addressed.
Anything short of tackling corruption, he said, would spell doom for the country.
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