Governor Shettima Demands Probe Of N500m Chibok School Contract

Governor Shettima Demands Probe Of N500m Chibok School ContractGovernor Kashim Shettima has blown the whistle on the unaccounted 500 million naira set aside by the federal government for rebuilding of the Government Girls School in Chibok under the Safe School Initiative programme.

Governor Shettima, addressing villagers in Chibok town on Monday lamented how the misfortune of the people has become a money making venture for some group of people.

He called out the contractor handling the project, demanding for an investigation of the money released, particularly because the school has remained in a state of disrepair since the abduction of the girls.

The safe school initiative programme initiated by the immediate past Goodluck Jonathan administration was introduced after the abduction of school girls in Chibok.

Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had flown to Chibok to commission the 500 million naira rebuilding and Safe School Project in a foundation laying ceremony in the school where the girls were taken.

Two years on, the project has suffered a stillbirth and students of the school have remained at home.

Nigeria’s Safe Schools Initiative Gets $4.2mln Boost

Safe_School_InitiativeThe Nigerian government has received additional $4.2 million donations in support of the Safe Schools Initiative.

The donations were announced at the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday.

A donation of $1.5 million came in from Norway, one million from the African Development Bank (AfDB), $50,000 from the AfDB President and the British government donated one million pounds.

The council was also told that the German government was processing the sum of two million Euros towards the initiative.

The funds are in support of the Safe Schools Initiative that was birthed at the World Economic Summit on Africa held in Nigeria in May, weeks after over 200 girls were abducted from their school dormitory in Chibok, Borno State, by members of the Boko Haram sect.

The recent donations were announced to the council by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

President Jonathan kicked off the Safe Schools Initiative programme with a start-off fund of 3.2 billion Naira on June 17.

Half of the amount came from the private sector.

After a meeting on the initiative between President Jonathan, former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and governors from the three least educationally developed states in the north, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told reporters that the fund would help ensure that children in schools in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States got educated in a safe environment.

Explaining the initiative and the fund to journalists, Dr Okonjo-Iweala said that Mr Gordon Brown, who was also an envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nation on children, was expected to also assist in raising some funds in addition to the benchmark set for the programme.

She said that a total of 100 million dollars was the targeted amount needed as take-off grant for the Safe Schools Initiative Programme by the Federal Government and the international community for Nigerian schools.

The former British Prime Minister has the backing of the United Nations and the international community on the project which will also take care of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram sect in April when they are released.

Mr Brown had been in talks with the United kingdom, Norway, the United States and the European Union to raise additional funds to help in the massive reconstruction work that is expected to kick-off.

The funds received by the Nigerian government are believed to be the outcome of Mr Browns talks with the countries and organisations.

The FEC also appealed to well meaning Nigerians and philanthropists from, in and outside the country, to continue to make contributions to the Safe Schools Initiative to show that Nigeria is not alone in the fight against insurgency.

Safe School Initiative: Finance Minister Meets State Governments

Okonjo-Iweala on Safe SchoolThe Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says the Federal Government’s Safe School Initiative is targeted at restoring confidence in the nation’s education system in the North Eastern part of the country.

This is owing to the insecurity in the region where over 200 schoolgirls were abducted in April and several other children have been out of school.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke at a meeting of the committee of the Safe School Initiative in Abuja, said that the initiative would also carter for the rehabilitation and equipping of schools affected by the activities of insurgents.

“I think it’s worth noting that the idea for this initiative predated the incident in Chibok and that former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has been discussing this with the President for some months before now but the incident we had crystalized the need to move quickly.

“The reason is that our Chibok girls, whom we will not relent until they come back, must also come back and find a new environment that is different from the ones they left, where boys and girls are not intimidated and where the environment is more conducive to learning”, the Minister said.

The meeting had in attendance the Governor of Borno State, a representative from Adamawa State, the Minister of State for Education and representatives of the National Emergency Management Commission.

Jonathan Inaugurates Safe Schools Initiatives Committee

jonathan-goodluck-Nigeria-PresidentPresident Goodluck Jonathan has inaugurated the steering committee for Safe Schools Initiative, pledging the resolve of his administration to tackle insurgency headlong.

In his speech at the inauguration, the president said that Nigeria was passing through stress orchestrated by the violence being perpetrated by members of the Boko Haram sect and that security operatives were doing everything possible to get rid of it while the Federal Government will approach the solution holistically.

The idea of a safe school came up during the World Economic Forum on Africa held in May.

The international community had pledged to assist the Federal Government to go beyond just the rescue of the abducted Chibok Girls to security of schools mostly in the north.

The committee, which is co-chaired by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and a former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, also has Aliko Dangote, Nduka Obaigbena and governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States among others as members.

President Jonathan pointed out that the excesses of the Boko Haram sect were of serious concern to him.

He said the Safe Schools Initiative was one of the areas where his government was intervening.

He decried the high rate of school dropout which he said had risen to 70 per cent in some states, insisting that the figure was not acceptable to his administration even as children in Borno State were no longer willing to attend school because of the fear of terrorists attacks.

“From statistics, the dropout of students at the basic level of education is quite high. The basic level is the primary and secondary. The dropout at that level is too high.

“Some states are fairly okay with one or two per cent. But some states are as high as 70 per cent. If the dropout rate of students at the basic level is as high as 70 per cent, that means that only 30 per cent goes to school. That is terrible.

“In Borno State today for example, children, especially girls are not going to school because of the risk they face from terrorism and violence. This is not acceptable,” he said.

On June 17, the Safe School Initiative programme kicked-off, with the Nigerian government and the private sector providing a start-off fund of 3.2 billion Naira. Half of the amount was provided by the private sector.

Explaining the initiative and the fund to journalists, Dr Okonjo-Iweala said Mr Gordon Brown, who was also an envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on children, was expected to also assist in raising some funds in addition to the benchmark set for the programme.

She said that a total of 100 million dollars was the targeted amount needed as take-off grant for the Safe School Initiative Programme by the Federal Government and the international community for Nigerian schools.

The initiative was agreed on at the World Economic Forum on Africa, after over 200 girls were abducted from their dormitory in Chibok, Borno State by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group on April 14.

Counter-terrorism military troops are making efforts to rescue the girls.

The fund for the safe school initiative will be inaugurated  on July 16.

Nigeria Launches Safe School Initiative With 3.2b Naira

jonathan-goodluck-Nigeria-PresidentPresident Goodluck Jonathan has kicked off the Safe School Initiative programme with a start off fund of 3.2 billion Naira, with half of the amount coming from the private sector. 

After a meeting on the initiative between President Jonathan, former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and governors from the three least educationally developed states, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told reporters that the fund would help ensure that children in schools in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states got educated in a safe environment.

Explaining the initiative and the fund to journalists, Dr Okonjo-Iweala said Mr Gordon Brown, who was also an envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nation on children, was expected to also assist in raising some funds in addition to the benchmark set for the programme.

She said that a total of 100 million dollars was the targeted amount needed as take-off grant for the Safe School Initiative Programme by the Federal Government and the international community for Nigerian schools.

Forcefully Abducted

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala stated that 20 million dollars had already been raised by the Federal Government and the Private Sector as an  initial capital.

“The trust fund would also include: Emergency relief , Reconstruction and Rehabilitation,” she said.

Over 10 million children are out of school in Nigeria and some in school in the three states are beginning to lose interest in education after series of attacks on schools by a terrorist group, Boko Haram, seeking an end to western education.

Some children that are in school have been forcefully abducted by members of the Boko Haram for the simple reason that they want to be educated.

To help ensure that learning environment in schools in the three states are safe, President Jonathan and members of his cabinet met with former British Prime Minister.

According to Dr Okonjo-Iweala, the initiative will begin with the three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa who have been worst hit by the ugly trend.

The former British Prime Minister has the backing of the United Nation and the international community on the project which will also take care of the Chibok girls abducted by the Boko Haram sect when they are released.

Mr Brown said that the abduction of the Chibok school girls is still a nightmare to the international community.

Brown is in talks with the United kingdom, Norway, the United States  and the European Union to raise additional funds to help in the massive reconstruction work that is expected to kick-off.

The Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim  Gaidam and the Governor of Bornu State, Kashim Shetima, expressed support for the initiative which they said would enable the children feel safe in schools. The development they said would help reduce illiteracy in the north eastern states.

The Federal Government says Nigerian children must have an environment in which they could come back to school and not have anyone truncate their education. The government also called for the support of all Nigerians to make the initiative a success.

The Safe School Initiative is a fall-out of the World Economic Forum on Africa held in May in Nigeria’s capital.