From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has decried the poor performance of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB in discharging its mandate of boosting primary education in the State.
The Governor made the assessment while addressing staff of the board during an inspection tour of facilities at the board.
“SUBRB is known for bad name especially in staff attitude to work. Some of you are involved in fraudulent deals. Issues of salary padding and ghost workers. I have no business stealing from government. They made several allegations that money was stolen here and given to me. That is a big lie. We have saved our 800 million because of checks carried out here. We have planned to inject 4 billion naira into primary education. It is your desire two make primary education strongest. Am not taking anything for granted in this second term. In spite of the large number of teachers that have retired, the Wage bill is still high. We are going to do verification of teachers. We will take innovative measures that will turn around the primary education in the State. Balance of 41 billion will be given to us by the Federal Government which would be used to pay salary arrears”, he promised.
Ortom also, vowed to drag all contractors who were awarded contracts for the renovations and buildings of primary schools across the state by the state universal basic education board (SUBEB), but failed to execute the projects after collecting mobilization fees.
He explained that there is not time for sycophancy and illiteracy anymore in the state and warned all those engaging in fraudulent activities at the Board to desist from doing so stressing that he has chosen to reposition not only SUBEB but the entire Benue State and would not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone found committing fraud.
He disclosed that the state government through the State Universal Basic Education, SUBEB, is to inject over N5.6 billion naira into the Primary and Basic Education, adding that about N609 million from the 2018 Universal Basic Education Board, UBEC intervention is to be matched with same amount by SUBEB to access N1.218 billion for use by SUBEB.
According to him, the State Government had also accessed additional N2.2 billion from a bank to pay as counterpart to access same amount at UBEC, which brings the total to N4.4b for the 2019 intervention.
The Governor 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 stated that his administration would procure a court order to retrieve items that had been previously distributed but were stolen or destroyed by some persons.
“My desire in office is to make basic education viable and attractive in the state.I have chosen to reposition not only SUBEB but entire Benue State and therefore there is not time for sycophancy and illiteracy. We must display fairness, equity, justice and transparency”.
“Some of you have not office schedules. They are engaged in shoddy deals, salaries padding and other fraudulent activities. However, state government has already engaged National Identity Management office to carry out biometrics exercise for primary schools teachers. This is to enable government know the actual numbers of teachers in the state so that we can also employ more teachers”, Ortom said.
He urged staff of SUBEB to redouble their efforts as he was determined to get things done within recorded time, lamenting that the staff needed to improve on their attitude and approach to work.