Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against the 36 state governors over funds budgeted to pay ex-governors’ life pensions.
SERAP described the pensions as underserved for the ex-governors, saying the funds could be used to allow poor children enjoy access to quality basic education in their states.
In the suit number FHC/L/CS/1120/2022 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP is seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel the 36 state governors to pay the counterpart funds that would allow poor Nigerian children to enjoy access to quality basic education in their respective states.”
The anti-corruption agency noted that over N40 billion had been reportedly paid to 47 former governors from 21 of the 36 states in pensions and provision of houses, staff and motor vehicles replaceable between three and four years.
“However, several states have reportedly failed to pay the counterpart funds to access over N51bn matching grants earmarked by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for basic education in the country.”
SERAP is also seeking an order to direct and compel the 36 state governors to put in place mechanisms for transparency and accountability in the spending of any accessed matching grants from UBEC.
SERAP said, “State governors are paying former governors in their states billions of naira in life pensions and other retirement benefits while failing to invest in education and pay funds that would allow poor Nigerian children within their states to enjoy access to quality education.
“Paying the counterpart funds for basic education in several states would be a major step forward for children’s rights, and ensure the rights and well-being of all children, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds.”
It noted that some states’ failure to access the N51.6bn matching grants suggested they were doing very little for poor children.
“It also explains why the number of out-of-school children in the country has continued to rise. The number is currently over 13 million,”