Ifeanyi Okowa

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Delta State Axis, has threatened to embark on a mass protest over the allocation of eight per cent to the education sector in the state's 2019 budget presented to the state House of Assembly a few weeks ago.

The students charged Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State, to review the decision and work towards improving the sector.

A letter by Dio Oghale Emeka Rex, Chairman of NANS/JCC Delta State Axis, called on Okowa to take immediate action to "save education in the state".

The protest letter, entitled: 'National Association of Nigerian Students, Delta State Axis Demands Prompt Action to Save Education in Delta State', obtained by SaharaReporters, expressed displeasure over the allocation against the 26 per cent minimum allocation for education recommended by UNESCO.

The letter read: "Your Excellency Sir, it is therefore very disheartening to realise that only 8% of the 2019 budget was allocated to education as against the 26% minimum allocation for education recommended by UNESCO. We humbly wish to demand for Your Excellency's prompt actions to save education in Delta State.

"Your Excellency, Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world with about 13 million children being out of school. Poverty has been identified as the major reason for this outrageous figure. The government is expected to be seen taking deliberate steps to improve on education.

"The leadership of Nigerian students in Delta State therefore rejects in totality, such meager allocation for education. It is not acceptable to us and we shall resist it by all means possible. We therefore demand an upward review of the budget allocated to education in the 2019 budget by Your Excellency.

"We also demand that Your Excellency declares a state of emergency on education and adopt free education policy in public basic and secondary schools in Delta State. Your Excellency, as we look forward to a prompt consideration and approval of our demands."

The protest letter copied the Secretary to the State Government, (SSG), Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Commissioner for Higher Education, Special Assistant to the Governor on Students Affairs, Personal Assistant to the Governor on Students Affairs, Commissioner of Police, Delta State Command, Director, Department of State Service, Delta State Service Command and the NUJ, Delta State Council.

Meanwhile, a student union president, who preferred not to be named, also called for an upward review.

He said: "Any attempt by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to ignore our call for an immediate review of the meagre 8 percent allocation for the education sector in the state in his 2019 budget, he will get from us what he did not bargain for. We are already mobilising over twenty buses full of students across the state to stage a peaceful protest against the killer of education governor. Since Uduaghan left office, the education sector has been put in a state of comatose.

"The records are there for everybody to see. Since Okowa came into office, the education sector has been in a state of suffering and smiling. Okowa only came to destroy and kill the sector. How can a medical doctor as claimed treat the education sector in such a bad manner? Okowa and his cronies voted billions of Naira to areas they can use to siphon the state treasury.

"Just take a look at the billions of naira he voted for roads in his 2019 budget, because that is the only avenue they can loot the treasury through award of contracts to their mushroom and briefcases cronies contractors who at the end execute substandard jobs."

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