BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA, PORT HARCOURT
Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike has called for the amendment of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Act to accomodate the funding of senior secondary education across the country.
This is as the governor announced that the Rivers State government will flag off the total rehabilitation of 174 primary schools in the state.
Wike spoke on Monday when members of the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services, paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt.
He stated that rather than establish another commission to cater for the infrastructural needs of senior secondary schools, UBEC should be empowered by law to handle such issues as it will be more economical for the country.
The governor said, “The amendment of the UBEC Act to accomodate senior secondary education was started last administration, but it was not concluded. I therefore call for the amendment of the UBEC Act to ensure that the commission undertakes the funding of senior secondary.
“When we came on board, we discovered that the immediate past administration did not access UBEC funds because of the failure to pay counterpart funds. We have paid the counterpart funds and accessed N5.6billion. By Thursday, we will flag off the total rehabilitation of 174 primary schools across the state. These schools will also be furnished.”
Wike, who stated that his administration is re-positioning basic education to secure the future of the state, regretted that though some states claim they have made primary education their top priority, it is worrisome that such states leave their UBEC funds un-accessed.
The governor informed the committee that the state governmemt has written to the Federal Ministry of Education to take over two federal schools in Ogu in Ogu/Bolo local government area and Aluu in Ikwerre local government areas of the state.
He stated that the two schools have been overgrown by weed after they were completed by the administration of former President Good luck Jonathan.
Earlier, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services, Hon. Zakari Mohamned said Rivers State is one of the top six states to access UBEC funds for the development of basic education.
Mohammed stated that the committee was in the state to assess the utilization of UBEC funds for the development of key projecrs in the sub-sector.