The Executive Director of the Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER), Barr. Frank Tietie has thrown his weight behind the little Sapele girl, Success, who drew the attention of the world to the rot in the deplorable education condition in Delta State in particular, and Nigeria in general.
Success’ video had gone viral on social video defying the odds and challenges on the general state of decadence in public schools in Delta State, as well as across the country.
In a statement, Barr. Tietie called on the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately investigate and where necessary arrest, prosecute and imprison any past or present official of the Delta State Ministry of Education found culpable in the criminal mismanagement of funds meant for the maintenance of public schools in the state.
In the wake of the scandalous revelations, following the dramatic social media buzz of Success, CASER issued a public notice to the Delta State Government that as a human rights organization, it is appalled by the Government’s cosmetic response of suspending the head teacher of the Okotie-Eboh Primary School for collecting illegal fees.
Tietie said that a serious government would immediately declare a state of emergency in the education sector after apologising for its negligence.
He, meanwhile, views the suspension of the head teacher as shameless scapegoatism since there are proofs that heads of schools across the state have been authorised by the government to collect certain fees and levies.
He said that such an application of a face saver in the midst of serious issues of criminal neglect of public school infrastructure is not a commensurably responsible action by any serious state government that wants to change its approach to mismanagement and negligence of its public responsibility.
“The suspension of the said head teacher is a cheap diversion from the irresponsibility of the State Government in its failure to provide free qualitative primary and secondary education for its people despite the huge financial resources available to it from the monthly Federal allocations it collects, he noted.
According to him, “Delta State has an average income of over 20 Billion Naira monthly.
“Therefore, there shouldn’t be any reason whatsoever, why any public school, even in the remotest part of the state should be in such a decrepit and degraded condition as that of Okotie-Eboh Primary School, which is in the heart of Sapele, one of the three biggest towns in the state.
“Such neglect and misappropriation of public resources can only considered in criminal dimensions,” he stressed.
Tietie went down memory lane to recount the condition of education in the old Bendel State, of which Delta is part of.
CASER is of the view that the appropriate persons to be suspended in such a cosmetic response would have been the Honourable Commissioner of Education, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and other Directors directly related to the management of public schools.
The statement continues:
“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa by allowing the suspension of the head teacher as a cover up for the embarrassing state of the school, cannot be trusted to effect a proper probe into the infrastructural decay and presumed criminal misappropriation of the resources of the state meant for maintenance of public schools.
“By choosing to allow a weak and defenseless person as the head teacher as a means of diverting attention from the failure of government and ensuring protection for senior officials in the Ministry of Education shows that the Governor is not prepared to hold the real culprits accountable.
“The Governor is therefore trying to shield corruption and corrupt officials hence the EFCC must immediately intervene to discharge its statutory functions.”
CASER warned that if EFCC refuses to investigate the presumed misappropriation of the huge budgetary allocations for the development of education in the Delta, it will approach the court for an Order of Mandamus compelling it to carry the investigation.
CASER called for this investigation to promote the right of Nigerian children to quality education since there are available resources to guarantee such.