THE Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the Delta State Government to account for N200 billion education allocations collected by former governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) disclosed this on Sunday, July 30, in a statement by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
According to SERAP, the judgment was handed down on July 17, following a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by the organisation with case number FHC/L/CS/803/2019.
SERAP said the Okowa government collected the N200 billion from the state’s Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
The group disclosed that the judgment was given by the court presided by Daniel Osiagor.
SERAP said the court ordered the current Governor of Delta State, Sheriff Oborevwori, to reveal the details of the budgetary allocation between 2015 to 2019.
“SERAP has cognisable legal right to inquire and know the way and manner public institutions manage public funds. I must say that every citizen has a duty to demand transparency and accountability in governance of public institutions,” Osiagor said.
Osiagor further directed the Delta State government to “disclose how the Okowa government spent over N7.28 billion received from UBEC between 2015 and 2017, and N213 billion received from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee in 2018, at an average of N17.8 billion monthly”.
SERAP’s suit followed the case of seven-year-old Success Adegor, who was sent home because her parents could not pay the N900 illegal school fee/levy.
Success gained fame when she was caught on camera by a neighbour lamenting about being sent home from school due to unpaid fees.
She received offers of assistance as well as widespread respect for her unwavering attitude throughout the video.
The ICIR reported that Ijaw National Leader and convener of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Edwin Clark accused Okowa of mismanaging the state’s share of 13 per cent derivation funds for oil-producing communities.
Clark, who said this in a statement released on February 2, described the administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vice presidential candidate as a “reign of unaccountability”.
According to him, the funds from the Federation Account to oil-producing communities through state governments, as stated in Section 162, Sub-section 2 of the Nigerian Constitution, should be dedicated solely to the development of affected communities.
The elder statesman claimed that the state government has not adequately utilised the derivation funds on essential areas and projects but rather on “favoured areas”.