George Okoh in Makurdi
Benue State Government has recovered over N800 billion from allegedly stolen from the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) even as the board was ready to spend over N5.6 billion on primary and basic education in the state.
Governor Samuel Ortom, who made the disclosure at the weekend while briefing staff and management of the SUBEB at the board’s headquarters in Makurdi, explained that the monies were recovered due to stringent monitoring and probe of the board by the state government.
The fraud, according to him, was allegedly committed by the past administration of the board, adding that the N609 million from the recovered fund was to be matched with same amount by SUBEB to access N1.218 billion for use by SUBEB.
The governor said the state government had also accessed additional N2.2 billion from a bank to pay as counterpart funding to access same amount at UBEC, which would bring the total to N4.4b for the 2019 intervention.
Ortom stated that the N5.6 billion would be used to further provide infrastructure and instructional materials in basic and primary schools, promising that more teachers would be recruited before the end of the year.
While inspecting 35,000 desks and chairs procured to be distributed to schools, the governor explained that his administration would procure a court order to retrieve items that had been previously distributed but were stolen or destroyed by some persons.
He urged staff of SUBEB to redouble their efforts as he was determined to get things done within record time, lamenting that the staff needed to improve on their attitude and approach to work.
Earlier, Benue State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar, noted that so far the state government had expended N14 billion on primary and basic education, saying more would be done.
Ortom also inspected ongoing renovation works at SUBEB headquarters, Arabic and Christ African Church Nursery/Primary Schools in Wadata, LGEA Primary School in Deme, UBE Junior Secondary School in Tionsha, Holy Family Primary School in Kanshio, all in Makurdi.